Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy | 2016 Mar 29
RadioAstron observations of the extremely hot heart of quasar 3C 273
The space mission RadioAstron employing a 10-meter radio telescope on board of the Russian satellite Spektr-R has revealed the first look at the finest structure of the radio emitting regions in the quasar 3C 273 at wavelengths of 18, 6, and 1.3 cm. These ground breaking observations have been made by an international research team with four of the largest radio telescopes on Earth, including the Effelsberg 100-meter antenna. They provide an unprecedented sensitivity to radio emission at angular scales as small as 26 microarcseconds. This resolution was achieved by combining signals recorded at all antennas and effectively creating a telescope of almost 8 Earth’s diameters in size. ...
Supermassive black holes, containing millions to billions times the mass of our Sun, reside at the centers of all massive galaxies. These black holes can drive powerful jets that emit prodigiously, often outshining all the stars in their host galaxies. But there is a limit to how bright these jets can be – when electrons get hotter than about 100 billion degrees, they interact with their own emission to produce X-rays and Gamma-rays and quickly cool down.
Astronomers have just reported a startling violation of this long-standing theoretical limit in the quasar 3C 273. "We measure the effective temperature of the quasar core to be hotter than 10 trillion degrees!" comments Yuri Kovalev (Astro Space Center, Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, Russia), the RadioAstron project scientist. “This result is very challenging to explain with our current understanding of how relativistic jets of quasars radiate."
To obtain these results, the international team used the Earth-to-Space Interferometer RadioAstron. The interferometer consists of an orbiting radio telescope working together with the largest ground telescopes: the 100-meter Effelsberg Telescope, the 110-m Green Bank Telescope, the 300-m Arecibo Observatory, and the Very Large Array. Operating together, these observatories provide the highest direct resolution ever achieved in astronomy, thousands of times finer than the Hubble Space Telescope. ...
Earth-Space Telescope System Produces Hot Surprise
National Radio Astronomy Observatory | 2016 Mar 29
RadioAstron Observations of the Quasar 3C273: a Challenge to the Brightness Temperature Limit - Y. Y. Kovalev et al
- Astrophysical Journal Letters 820(1):L9 (2016 Mar 20) DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/820/1/L9
- arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1601.05806 > 21 Jan 2016 (v1), 02 Mar 2016 (v2)
- Astrophysical Journal Letters 820(1):L10 (2016 Mar 20) DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/820/1/L10
- arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1601.05810 > 21 Jan 2016 (v1), 19 Feb 2016 (v2)