VLBI detection of the HST-1 feature in the M87 jet at 2 cm

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Astronomy & Astrophysics 515,(2010)


Context. A bright feature 80 pc away from the core in the powerful jet of M87 shows highly unusual properties. Earlier radio, optical, and X-ray observations have shown that this feature, labeled HST-1, is superluminal, and is possibly connected with the TeV flare detected by HESS in 2005. It has been claimed that this feature might have a blazar nature because of these properties. Aims. To examine whether HST-1 has a blazar-like nature, we analyzed lambda 2 cm VLBA archival data from dedicated full-track observations and the 2 cm survey/MOJAVE VLBI monitoring programs performed between 2000 and 2009. Methods. We studied the subparsec scale structure of M 87 jet by using wide-field imaging techniques, after checking different weighting of the interferometric visibilities as a function of distance. The HST-1 region was imaged at milliarcsecond resolution. Results. We present the first 2 cm VLBI detection of HST-1 in observations performed between early 2003 and early 2007, and analyze its evolution with time. Using the detections of HST-1, we find that the projected apparent speed is 0.61 +/- 0.31c. A comparison of the VLA and VLBA flux densities of this feature indicates that it is mostly resolved on milliarcsecond scales. This feature is optically thin (alpha similar to -0.8 for S proportional to nu(+alpha)) between lambda 2 cm and lambda 20 cm. Conclusions. We do not find evidence that HST-1 has a blazar nature.

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