EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 431, Number 3, March I 2005
Page(s) 831 - 846
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20041831

A&A 431, 831-846 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20041831

A supermassive binary black hole in the quasar 3C 345

A. P. Lobanov1 and J. Roland2

1  Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, Bonn 53121, Germany
    e-mail: alobanov@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de
2  Institut d'Astrophysique, 98 bis bd. Arago, 75014 Paris, France

(Received 11 August 2004 / Accepted 16 October 2004)

Radio loud active galactic nuclei present a remarkable variety of signs indicating the presence of periodical processes possibly originating in binary systems of supermassive black holes, in which orbital motion and precession are ultimately responsible for the observed broad-band emission variations, as well as for the morphological and kinematic properties of the radio emission on parsec scales. This scenario, applied to the quasar 3C 345, explains the observed variations of radio and optical emission from the quasar, and reproduces the structural variations observed in the parsec-scale jet of this object. The binary system in 3C 345 is described by two equal-mass black holes with masses of $\approx$ 7.1  $\times$ $10^8~{M}_{\odot}$ separated by $\approx$ 0.33 pc and orbiting with a period ~ 480 yr. The orbital motion induces a precession of the accretion disk around the primary black hole, with a period of  $\approx$ 2570 yr. The jet plasma is described by a magnetized, relativistic electron-positron beam propagating inside a wider and slower electron-proton jet. The combination of Alfvén wave perturbations of the beam, the orbital motion of the binary system and the precession of the accretion disk reproduces the variability of the optical flux and evolution of the radio structure in 3C 345. The timescale of quasi-periodic flaring activity in 3C 345 is consistent with typical disk instability timescales. The present model cannot rule out a small-mass orbiter crossing the accretion disk and causing quasi-periodic flares.

Key words: galaxies: individual: 3C 345 -- galaxies: nuclei -- galaxies: jets -- radio continuum: galaxies

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