Jet stability and the generation of superluminal and stationary components
Gomez, J. L.
Marti, J. M.
Ibanez, J. M
Marscher, A. P.
Aloy, M. A.
Hardee, P. E.
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AbstractWe present a numerical simulation of the response of an expanding relativistic jet to the ejection of a superluminal component. The simulation has been performed with a relativistic time-dependent hydrodynamical code from which simulated radio maps are computed by integrating the transfer equations for synchrotron radiation. The interaction of the superluminal component with the underlying jet results in the formation of multiple conical shocks behind the main perturbation. These trailing components can be easily distinguished because they appear to be released from the primary superluminal component, instead of being ejected from the core. Their oblique nature should also result in distinct polarization properties. Those appearing closer to the core show small apparent motions and a very slow secular decrease in brightness, and could be identified as stationary components. Those appearing farther downstream are weaker and can reach superluminal apparent motions. The existence of these trailing components indicates that not all observed components necessarily represent major perturbations at the jet inlet; rather, multiple emission components can be generated by a single disturbance in the jet. While the superluminal component associated with the primary perturbation exhibits a rather stable pattern speed, trailing components have velocities that increase with distance from the core but move at less than the jet speed. The trailing components exhibit motion and structure consistent with the triggering of pinch modes by the superluminal component.
Comment: Accepted by ApJ Letters. LaTeX, 19 pages, 4 PostScript figures