AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 51. Radio Galaxies
Display, Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[51.04] Orientation of Jets Relative to Dust Disks in Radio Galaxies

H. R. Schmitt (NRAO - Socorro), J. E. Pringle, C. J. Clarke (Institute of Astronomy - Cambridge), A. L. Kinney (NASA)

We use HST broad band images, VLA and VLBI continuum data to study the three dimensional orientation of jets relative to nuclear dust disks in 20 radio galaxies. Contrary to what have been claimed by most previous studies, we find that jets are not oriented preferentially perpendicular to the dust disks. The observations are consistent with jets homogeneously distributed, in 3 dimensions, between 0o and 78o relative to dust disks axes, but seem to avoid close alignment along these disks. We argue that the misalignment is not likely to be caused by feeding the nucleus with gas from mergers originated from random directions. We suggest that warping of the accretion disk by self-irradiation instability or by the Bardeen-Petterson effect, as well as galaxies with kinematically distinct cores can explain the misalignment.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: hschmitt@aoc.nrao.edu

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