First 3 mm-VLBI imaging of the two-sided jet in Cygnus A
Zooming into the launching region
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie,
Auf dem Hügel 69,
2 Institut de Radioastronomie Millimétrique, 300 rue de la Piscine, 38406 Grenoble, France
Received: 1 March 2016
Accepted: 11 March 2016
Aims. We present for the first time Very Long Baseline Interferometry images of the radio galaxy Cygnus A at the frequency of 86 GHz. Thanks to the high spatial resolution of only ~200 Schwarzschild radii (RS), such observations provide an extremely detailed view of the nuclear regions in this archetypal object and allow us to derive important constraints for theoretical models describing the launching of relativistic jets.
Methods. A pixel-based analysis of the jet outflow, which still appears two-sided on the scales probed, was performed. By fitting Gaussian functions to the transverse intensity profiles, we could determine the jet width in the nuclear region.
Results. The base of the jets appears wide. The minimum measured transverse width of ~(227 ± 98) RS is significantly larger than the radius of the innermost stable circular orbit, suggesting that the outer accretion disk is contributing to the jet launching. The existence of a faster and Doppler de-boosted inner section, powered either from the rotation of the inner regions of the accretion disk or by the spinning black hole, is suggested by the kinematic properties and by the observed limb brightening of the flow.
Key words: instrumentation: high angular resolution / galaxies: active / galaxies: jets
© ESO, 2016