A Mechanism for the Triple-ridge Emission Structure of AGN Jets

Taiki Ogihara, Kazuya Takahashi, Kenji Toma

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent radio very long baseline interferometry observations of the relativistic jet in the M87 radio galaxy have shown a triple-ridge structure that consists of the conventional limb-brightened feature and a central narrow ridge. Motivated by these observations, we examine a steady axisymmetric force-free model of a jet driven by the central black hole (BH) with its electromagnetic structure being consistent with general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations, and find that it can produce triple-ridge images even if we assume a simple Gaussian distribution of emitting electrons at the base of the jet. We show that the fluid velocity field associated with the electromagnetic field produces the central ridge component due to the relativistic beaming effect, while the limb-brightened feature arises due to a strong magnetic field around the jet edge that also induces the electrons to be dense there. We also show that the computed image strongly depends on the electromagnetic field structure, viewing angle, and parameters related to the electrons' spatial distribution at the jet base. This study will help constrain the non-thermal electron injection mechanism of BH jets and be complementary to theoretical analyses of the upcoming data of the Event Horizon Telescope.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 20


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: jets
  • methods: analytical
  • relativistic processes


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