Eileen T. Meyer

Eileen T. Meyer
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Eileen T. Meyer

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (13)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (9)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (4)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Eileen T. Meyer

The Chandra X-ray observatory has discovered several dozen anomalously X-ray-bright jets associated with powerful quasars. A popular explanation for the X-ray flux from the knots in these jets is that relativistic synchrotron-emitting electrons inverse-Compton scatter Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) photons to X-ray energies (the IC/CMB model). This model predicts a high gamma-ray flux which should be detectable by the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) for many sources. Read More

The Hubble Space Telescope recently celebrated 25 years of operation. Some of the first images of extragalactic optical jets were taken by HST in the mid-1990s; with time baselines on the order of 20 years and state-of-the-art astrometry techniques, we are now able to reach accuracies in proper-motion measurements on the order of a tenth of a milliarcsecond per year. We present the results of a recent HST program to measure the kiloparsec-scale proper motions of eleven nearby optical jets with Hubble, the first sample of its kind. Read More

The radio galaxy 3C 273 hosts one of the nearest and best-studied powerful quasar jets. Having been imaged repeatedly by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) over the past twenty years, it was chosen for an HST program to measure proper motions in the kiloparsec-scale resolved jets of nearby radio-loud active galaxies. The jet in 3C 273 is highly relativistic on sub-parsec scales, with apparent proper motions up to 15$c$ observed by VLBI (Lister et al. Read More

The Chandra X-ray observatory has discovered dozens of resolved, kiloparsec-scale jets associated with powerful quasars in which the X-ray fluxes are observed to be much higher than the expected level based on the radio-optical synchrotron spectrum. The most popular explanation for the anomalously high and hard X-ray fluxes is that these jets do not decelerate significantly by the kiloparsec scale, but rather remain highly relativistic (Lorentz factors $\Gamma\approx$10). By adopting a small angle to the line-of-sight, the X-rays can thus be explained by inverse Compton upscattering of CMB photons (IC/CMB), where the observed emission is strongly Doppler boosted. Read More

The physical origin of the X-ray emission in powerful quasar jets has been a long-standing mystery. Though these jets start out on the sub-pc scale as highly relativistic flows, we do not have any direct measurement of their speeds on the kpc scale, where the vast distances from the core necessitate in situ particle acceleration. If the jets remain highly relativistic on kpc scales, then the X-rays could be due to inverse-Compton upscattering of CMB photons. Read More

Relativistic jets in active galactic nuclei (AGN) are among the most powerful astrophysical objects discovered to date. Indeed, jetted AGN studies have been considered a prominent science case for SKA, and were included in several different chapters of the previous SKA Science Book (Carilli & Rawlings 2004). Most of the fundamental questions about the physics of relativistic jets still remain unanswered, and await high-sensitivity radio instruments such as SKA to solve them. Read More

The nature of the interaction between low-excitation gas filaments at ~10^4 K, seen in optical line emission, and diffuse X-ray emitting coronal gas at ~10^7 K in the centers of galaxy clusters remains a puzzle. The presence of a strong, empirical correlation between the two gas phases is indicative of a fundamental relationship between them, though as yet of undetermined cause. The cooler filaments, originally thought to have condensed from the hot gas, could also arise from a merger or the disturbance of cool circumnuclear gas by nuclear activity. Read More

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has proven to be uniquely suited for the measurement of proper motions (PMs) of stars and galaxies in the nearby Universe. Here we summarize the main results and ongoing studies of the HSTPROMO collaboration, which over the past decade has executed some two dozen observational and theoretical HST projects on this topic. This is continuing to revolutionize our dynamical understanding of many objects, including: globular clusters; young star clusters; stars and stellar streams in the Milky Way halo; Local Group galaxies, including dwarf satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, and the Andromeda galaxy; and AGN Black Hole Jets. Read More

We report new results from an HST archival program to study proper motions in the optical jet of the nearby radio galaxy M87. Using over 13 years of archival imaging, we reach accuracies below 0.1c in measuring the apparent velocities of individual knots in the jet. Read More

The X-ray emission mechanism in large-scale jets of powerful radio quasars has been a source of debate in recent years, with two competing interpretations: either the X-rays are of synchrotron origin, arising from a different electron energy distribution than that producing the radio to optical synchrotron component, or they are due to inverse Compton scattering of cosmic microwave background photons (IC/CMB) by relativistic electrons in a powerful relativistic jet with bulk Lorentz factor Gamma ~ 10-20. These two models imply radically different conditions in the large-scale jet in terms of jet speed, kinetic power, and maximum energy of the particle acceleration mechanism, with important implications for the impact of the jet on the large-scale environment. A large part of the X-ray origin debate has centered on the well-studied source 3C 273. Read More

Black holes generate collimated, relativistic jets which have been observed in gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), microquasars, and at the center of some galaxies (active galactic nuclei; AGN). How jet physics scales from stellar black holes in GRBs to the supermassive ones in AGNs is still unknown. Here we show that jets produced by AGNs and GRBs exhibit the same correlation between the kinetic power carried by accelerated particles and the gamma-ray luminosity, with AGNs and GRBs lying at the low and high-luminosity ends, respectively, of the correlation. Read More

In recent work, we have identified two sub-populations of radio-loud AGN which appear to be distinguished by jet structure, where low-efficiency accreting systems produce `weak' jets which decelerate more rapidly than the `strong' jets of black holes accreting near the Eddington limit. The two classes are comprised of: (1) The weak jet sources, corresponding to FR I radio galaxies, having a decelerating or spine-sheath jet with velocity gradients, and (2) The strong jet sources, having fast, collimated jets, and typically displaying strong emission lines. The dichotomy in the \nu_peak-L_peak plane can be understood as a `broken power sequence' in which jets exist on one branch or the other based on the particular accretion mode. Read More

We present the first collective evidence that Fermi-detected jets of high kinetic power (L_kin) are dominated by inverse Compton emission from upscattered external photons. Using a sample with a broad range in orientation angle, including radio galaxies and blazars, we find that very high power sources (L_kin > 10^45.5 erg s^{-1}) show a significant increase in the ratio of inverse Compton to synchrotron power (Compton dominance) with decreasing orientation angle, as measured by the radio core dominance and confirmed by the distribution of superluminal speeds. Read More

In examining a select sample of over 200 blazars of known jet kinetic power (L_kin) and well-characterized SEDs, we found (Meyer et al., 2011) that Intermediate synchrotron-peaking (ISP) blazars may have lower gamma-ray output than high synchrotron-peaking (HSP) blazars of similar L_kin, consistent with our hypothesis that ISP blazars are less-beamed versions of HSP blazars, rather than a distinct population. Further, by using the radio core dominance as a measure of relative beaming, we find that gamma-ray luminosity depends on beaming in a consistent way for blazars ranging over all jet kinetic powers (10^42 - 10^46 ergs/s). Read More

We recently argued (Meyer 2011) that the collective properties of radio loud active galactic nuclei point to the existence of two families of sources, one of powerful sources with single velocity jets and one of weaker jets with significant velocity gradients in the radiating plasma. These families also correspond to different accretion modes and therefore different thermal and emission line intrinsic properties: powerful sources have radiatively efficient accretion disks, while in weak sources accretion must be radiatively inefficient. Here, after we briefly review of our recent work, we present the following findings that support our unification scheme: (i) along the broken sequence of aligned objects, the jet kinetic power increases. Read More

We revisit the concept of a blazar sequence that relates the synchrotron peak frequency ({\nu}peak) in blazars with synchrotron peak luminosity (Lpeak, in {\nu}L{\nu}) using a large sample of radio-loud AGN. We present observational evidence that the blazar sequence is formed from two populations in the synchrotron {\nu}peak - Lpeak plane, each forming an upper edge to an envelope of progressively misaligned blazars, and connecting to an adjacent group of radio galaxies having jets viewed at much larger angles to the line of sight. When binned by jet kinetic power (Lkin; as measured through a scaling relationship with extended radio power), we find that radio core dominance decreases with decreasing synchrotron Lpeak, revealing that sources in the envelope are generally more misaligned. Read More