EDP Sciences
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Volume 420, Number 1, June II 2004
Page(s) 33 - 48
Section Astrophysical processes
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041140

A&A 420, 33-48 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041140

Scattering in the vicinity of relativistic jets: A method for constraining jet parameters

C. K. Cramphorn1, 2, S. Yu. Sazonov1, 3 and R. A. Sunyaev1, 3

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany
2  Kanzlei Dr. Volker Vossius, Geibelstr. 6, 81679 München, Germany
3  Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia

(Received 1 February 2004 / Accepted 11 March 2004)

Relativistic jets of radio loud active galactic nuclei (AGN) produce highly directed, intense beams of radiation. A fraction of this beamed radiation scatters on the thermal plasma generally surrounding an AGN. The morphology of the scattered emission can thus provide constraints on the physical properties of the jet. We present a model to study the feasibility of constraining the parameters of a jet, especially its inclination angle and bulk Lorentz factor in this way. We apply our model to the well studied jet of M 87 and the surrounding diffuse gas and find that the observational limits of the surface brightness measured in the region of the putative counterjet provide the tightest constraints on the jet parameters consistent with constraints derived by other methods. We briefly discuss the applicability of our model to other sources exhibiting relativistic motions.

Key words: scattering -- galaxies: jets -- galaxies: individual: M 87 -- galaxies: clusters: general -- radio continuum: general

Offprint request: C. K. Cramphorn, conrad.cramphorn@vovo.de

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