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Relativistic Alfvén Waves on the jet of BL Lacertae

  • Marshall H. Cohen (a1) and David L. Meier (a1) (a2)

Abstract

The jet of BL Lac displays transverse patterns that propagate downstream superluminally. We suggest that they are transverse Alfvén waves propagating on the longitudinal component of a helical magnetic field. The speed of the wave adds relativistically to the speed of the beam, and the apparent speed of the pattern is greater than the beam speed. Models for the jet and the MHD waves give values for the Lorentz factor of the beam of 3–4.4 and pitch angle of the helical magnetic field of 43° - 65°. These are consistent with other estimates, if the beam and pattern speeds are allowed to differ.

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References

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