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Astrophysical Jets

Date: 5/1/2006

Grzegorz Madejski
SLAC

Many astrophysical sources - especially those powered by release of gravitational energy - are associated with an outflow of material, generally taking place along the axis of symmetry of the system. In the most extreme cases, the outflow is accelerated to relativistic speeds; such a phenomenon is known as an astrophysical jet. When a relativistic jet points close to our line of sight, the observed radiation is strongly Doppler-boosted. Most spectacular cases of astrophysical jets are those produced by active galactic nuclei, where the measured spectrum - presumably dominated by the radiation from the jet - reaches up to the multi-GeV range. Our knowledge of these jets is limited: we don't fully understand how are they formed, collimated, and accelerated, and what is the process of conversion of the bulk energy of the jet into radiation. We anticipate that the increased sensitivity of GLAST will provide us with spectacular data yielding new insights as to their origin and structure.

Last update: October 03, 2013