Wednesday, December 23, 2020

[xozwxurl] how many jets does 3C 273 have?

3C 273 is classified as a blazar (sometimes mini-blazar).  a blazar is a quasar with a jet oriented so that we are looking right down the axis of the jet: it therefore looks unusually bright from our point of view.  presumably it also has another jet blazing exactly away from us which we cannot see due to alignment and stuff in the way.

however, 3C 273 also has a visible jet pointed sideways, clearly not aligned with our viewing axis.  what is going on?

wild guess: quasar activity, including jets, is the result of galaxy mergers.  the visible jet of 3C 273 is the remnant of an old merger.  the current blazar activity is from a more recent merger that has changed the axis of the jet to point toward us.  but the jet of the old merger is still shining because of the speed of light: the old jet hasn't yet gotten the memo that the axis has changed.

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