Near-infrared jets in the Galactic microquasar GRS1915+105

Abstract

QUASARS and active galactic nuclei often have radio jets emanating from them, parts of which sometimes appear to move faster than light1. These jets are thought to arise from processes associated with a supermassive black hole, but it is difficult to study them in detail both because they lie at extreme distances and because observable changes in them occur only slowly. The Galactic 'microquasar' GRS1915+105 has attracted much attention because it also has superluminal jets2; it might be a low-power analogue of the 'central engine' of quasars, but so far the only evidence that it contains a black hole is its X-ray luminosity, which is greater than that allowed for a neutron star. Here we report observations of near-infrared jets from GRS1915+105; these jets emerge at the same position angle as the radio jets, but the luminosity associated with them is far greater. Using these data, we find a correlation between the length of a jet, its brightness temperature and the central source luminosity which applies across the entire range of black-hole-driven jets, thereby connecting microquasars, active galactic nuclei and quasars. Because the evolution of GRS1915+105 can be studied on relatively short timescales, we effectively have the ability to investigate evolutionary processes in quasars.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Begelman, M. C., Blandford, R. D. & Rees, M. J. Rev. mod. Phys. 56, 255–351 (1984).

  2. 2

    Mirabel, I. F. & Rodriguez, L. F. Nature 371, 46–48 (1994).

  3. 3

    Castro-Tirado, A. J., Brandt, S. & Lund, N. IAU Circ. No. 5590 (1992).

  4. 4

    Eckart, A., Genzel, R., Hofmann, R., Sams, B. J. & Tacconi-Garman, L. E. Astrophys. J. 445, L23–L26 (1995).

  5. 5

    Mirabel, I. F. et al. Astr. Astrophys. 335, L17–L20 (1994).

  6. 6

    Hoffmann, R. et al. in Prog. in Telescope and Instrumentation Tech. (ed. Ulrich, M. H.) 617–620 (ESO Conf. Ser. 42, ESO, Garching, 1993).

  7. 7

    Christou, J. C. Expl. Astr. 21, 27–32 (1991).

  8. 8

    DePoy, D. L. & Sharp, N. A. Astr. J. 101, 1324–1328 (1991).

  9. 9

    Eikenberry, S. S. & Fazio, G. G. IAU Circ. No. 6267 (1995).

  10. 10

    Castro-Tirado, A. J. et al. IAU Circ. No. 5590 (1992).

  11. 11

    Margon, B. A. Rev. Astr. Astrophys. 22, 507–536 (1984).

  12. 12

    Axon, D. J. & Ellis, R. S. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 177, 499–511 (1976).

  13. 13

    Sazonov, S. & Sunyaev, R. IAU Circ. No. 6196 (1995).

  14. 14

    Sazonov, S. & Sunyaev, R. IAU Circ. No. 6209 (1995).

  15. 15

    Gil'fanov, M. R., Syunyaev, R. A. & Churazov, E. M. Sov. Astr. Lett. 13, 233–239 (1988).

  16. 16

    Falcke, H. & Biermann, P. L. Astr. Astrophys. 308, 321–327 (1996).

  17. 17

    Levinson, A. & Blandford, R. Astrophys. J. 456, L29–L32 (1996).

  18. 18

    Longair, M. S. High Energy Astrophysics (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986).

  19. 19

    Shakura, N. I. & Sunyaev, R. A. Astr. Astrophys. 24, 337–355 (1973).

  20. 20

    Shakura, N. I. & Sunyaev, R. A. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 175, 613–632 (1976).

  21. 21

    Hjellming, R. M. & Rupen, M. P. Nature 375, 464–468 (1995).

  22. 22

    Bailyn, C. D., Orosz, J. A., McClintock, J. E. & Remillard, R. A. Nature 378, 157–159 (1995).

  23. 23

    Eckart, A. et al. in The Nuclei of Normal Galaxies (eds Genzel, R. & Harris, A.) 305–315 (Nato ASI Ser. 445, Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 1994).

  24. 24

    Harmon, B. A. et al. Nature 374, 703–706 (1995).

  25. 25

    Hjorth, J., Vertergaard, M., Sørensen, A. N. & Grundahl, F. Astrophys. J. 452, L17–L20 (1995).

  26. 26

    Sparks, W. B. et al. Astrophys. J. 450, L55–L58 (1995).

  27. 27

    Unger, S. W., Booler, R. V. & Pedlar, A. Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 207, 679–684 (1984).

  28. 28

    Crane, P. et al. Astrophys. J. 402, L37–L40 (1993).

  29. 29

    Elvis, M., Schreier, E. J., Tonry, J., Davis, M. & Huchra, J. P. Astrophys. J. 246, 20–27 (1981).

  30. 30

    Gavazzi, G., Perola, G. C. & Jaffe, W. Astr. Astrophys. 103, 35–43 (1981).

  31. 31

    Keel, W. C. Astrophys. J. 302, 296–305 (1986).

  32. 32

    Keel, W. C. Astrophys. J. 329, 532–550 (1988).

  33. 33

    Biretta, J. A., Stem, C. P. & Harris, D. E. Astr. J. 101, 1632–1646 (1991).

  34. 34

    Biretta, J. A., Owen, F. N. & Comwell, T. J. Astrophys. J. 342, 128–134 (1989).

  35. 35

    Bahcall, J. N., Kirhakos, S., Schneider, D. P. & Unwin, S. C. Astrophys. J. 452, L91–L93 (1995).

  36. 36

    Sazonov, S. & Sunyaev, R. IAU Circ. No 6209 (1995).

  37. 37

    Ford, H. C. et al. Astrophys. J. 435, L27–L30 (1994).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sams, B., Eckart, A. & Sunyaev, R. Near-infrared jets in the Galactic microquasar GRS1915+105. Nature 382, 47–49 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/382047a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.