EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 374, Number 3, August II 2001
Page(s) 784 - 799
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010685
Published online 15 August 2001

A&A 374, 784-799 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010685

On the origin of compact radio sources

The binary black hole model applied to the gamma-bright quasar PKS 0420-014
S. Britzen1, J. Roland2, J. Laskar3, K. Kokkotas4, R. M. Campbell5 and A. Witzel6

1  Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
2  Institut d'Astrophysique, 98bis boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France
3  Bureau des Longitudes, 77 avenue Denfert Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
4  Department of Physics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece
5  Joint Institute for VLBI in Europe, Oude Hoogeveensedijk 4, 7991 PD Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
6  MPIfR, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany

(Received 11 July 2000 / Accepted 10 May 2001 )

VLBI monitoring of PKS 0420-014 at 3.6 cm performed during the period 1989.32-1992.48 reveals superluminal jet components in a strongly curved jet. We present a binary black hole model capable of simultaneously explaining the flux-density variations and the motions of jet components on helical trajectories in active galactic nuclei. From VLBI observations we derive the characteristics of the parsec-scale jet of PKS 0420-014. Moreover, we use the optical light curve of the quasar PKS 0420-014 over the time span 1989.67-1993.93 to determine the characteristics of the binary black hole system. We propose that galactic and extragalactic radio sources with jets are due to the existence of binary systems. Extragalactic binary systems are the results of mergers and provide a natural explanation why only a small fraction of quasars are radio sources and why extragalactic radio sources are associated with elliptical galaxies. These binary systems will be one of the primary targets for the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA).

Key words: black holes physics -- gravitational waves -- quasars: individual: PKS 04020-014 -- radio continuum: galaxies

Offprint request: J. Roland, roland@iap.fr

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© ESO 2001

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