AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 150. Particular AGNs and Seyferts
Oral, Thursday, January 10, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, International Ballroom West

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[150.05] Chandra X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy of the M87 Jet and Nucleus

A. S. Wilson, Y. Yang (U. Md.)

We report X-ray imaging - spectroscopy of the jet of M87 at sub arc second resolution with the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The galaxy nucleus and all the knots seen at radio and optical wavelengths, as far from the nucleus as knot C, are detected in the X-ray observations. There is a strong trend for the ratio of X-ray to radio, or optical, flux to decline with increasing distance from the nucleus. At least three knots are displaced from their radio/optical counterparts, being tens of pc closer to the nucleus at X-ray than at radio or optical wavelengths. The X-ray spectra of the nucleus and knots are well described by power laws absorbed by cold gas, with only the unresolved nucleus exhibiting intrinsic absorption. In view of the similar spectra of the nucleus and jet knots, and the high X-ray flux of the knots closest to the nucleus, we suggest that the X-ray emission coincident with the nucleus may actually originate from the pc -- or sub-pc -- scale jet.

The X-ray emission process is unlikely to be inverse Compton scattering and we favor synchrotron radiation. Plotted as \nuS\rm \nu, the spectra of the knots generally peak in or just above the optical - near infrared band. However, the overall spectra of at least three knots cannot be described by simple models in which the spectral index monotonically increases with frequency, as would result from synchrotron losses or a high energy cut-off to the injected electron spectrum. Instead, these spectra must turn down just above the optical band and then flatten in the X-ray band. Our results provide further support for the notion that radio galaxies produce a hard (\gamma ~q 2 -- 2.5, N(E) \propto E-\gamma) spectrum of high energy (E/mec2 ~ 107-8) electrons and possibly positrons.

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