AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 92 Astrophysical Jets and Radio Galaxies
Poster, Wednesday, January 7, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

[Previous] | [Session 92] | [Next]

[92.13] Continued Monitoring of the Optical / X-ray Flare in the Jet of M87

J. A. Biretta (STScI), D. E. Harris (CfA), E. S. Perlman (UMBC), W. B. Sparks (STScI)

We present multi-wavelength HST and Chandra monitoring of the M87 jet spanning 1999 - 2003. Beginning in early 2001 a dramatic flare was noted in knot HST-1 which is located 0.9" (projected distance 70 pc) from the galaxy nucleus. During the next ~18 months the optical / UV brightness of HST-1 increased quasi-linearly reaching a factor ~10 increase by the end of 2002. By mid-2003 HST-1 had again doubled in brightness, and has become the brightest feature in the galaxy and roughly twice as bright as the galaxy nucleus. A similar outburst is seen in the X-ray band, though its light curve is significantly more complex. The optical and X-ray outbursts are co-located and are coincident with the edge of HST-1 nearest the nucleus, a region which has previously been seen to emit superluminal components. The spectrum of the outburst is consistent with synchrotron emission, though details of the spectrum are complex. Models for the spectrum, its evolution, and potential causes of the outburst are discussed. This unique optical / X-ray outburst in a jet region spatially distinct from the nucleus provides an excellent laboratory for the study of particle acceleration and blazar-like phenomena.

[Previous] | [Session 92] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.