Published in:

Astrophysical Journal 668,1 (2007) L27-L30;


We report new 2 cm VLBA images of the inner radio jet of M87 showing a limb-brightened structure and unambiguous evidence for a faint 3 mas long counterfeature which also appears limb brightened. Multiepoch observations of seven separate jet features show typical speeds of less than a few percent of the speed of light, despite the highly asymmetric jet structure and the implications of the canonical relativistic beaming scenario. The observed morphology is consistent with a two-stream spine-sheath velocity gradient across the jet, as might be expected from the recently discovered strong and variable TeV emission as well as from numerical modeling of relativistic jets. Considering the large jet-to-counterjet flux density ratio and lack of observed fast motion in the jet, we conclude that either the inner part of the M87 jet is intrinsically asymmetric or that the bulk plasma flow speed is much greater than any propagation of shocks or other pattern motions.


acceleration of particles;; galaxies : active;; galaxies : individual;; (M87);; galaxies : jets;; radio continuum : galaxies;; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Date of this Version

January 2007



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