AAS 197, January 2001
Session 125. Jets and Variability in AGN and Radio Galaxies
Oral, Thursday, January 11, 2001, 1:30-3:00pm, San Diego

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[125.06] Dips in X-Ray Flux Associated with Superluminal Ejections in the Radio Galaxy 3C 120

A.P. Marscher, S.G. Jorstad (Boston U.), J.L. Gomez (IAA, Spain), M.F. Aller (U. Michigan)

We compare the RXTE X-ray light curve of 3C 120 from our late 1997 to early 2000 observations, plus early 1997 archival data, with both the cm-wave light curves (University of Michigan Radio Astronomy Observatory) and the times of ejections of apparent superluminal components (from VLBA observations; see Gómez et al. 2000). There is no correlation between the X-ray and radio light curves. However, the epochs of all four observed superluminal ejections correspond, to within the errors, with pronounced dips in the X-ray light curves (photon energies in the range 2--20 keV).

This behavior is similar to that of the binary-system ``microquasar'' GRS1915+105 in the Milky Way galaxy (Mirabel & Rodri\'{i}guez 1998), although in 3C 120 there is no evidence for rapid, quasi-periodic fluctuations in X-ray flux. These observations therefore support the notion that in active galactic nuclei eruptions of energetic outflow are related to excess accretion onto a supermassive black hole.

This work was supported in part by NASA grants NAG5-7331 and NAG5-9161 (RXTE observations) and NSF grant AST-9802941 (VLBA observations).


Mirabel, I.F., & Rodr\'{i}guez, L.F. 1998, Nature, 392, 673

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