Eileen Meyer, STScI
Proper Motion and Relativistic Velocities in the Optical Synchrotron Jet of M87
Using over 13 years of archival HST observations of the relativistic jet in the archetypal radio galaxy M87, we have produced astrometric speed measurements of the optically bright synchrotronemitting plasma components in the jet with unprecedented accuracy. Building on previous work showing the superluminal nature of the jet in the optical, we have found that the jet motion is incredibly complex, with both transverse motions and flux variations which can be seen by the naked eye in the timeseries of deep exposures. These observations of M87 provide us with a unique dataset with which to refine theoretical models of the largescale jet structure, potentially addressing open questions such as the jet collimation mechanism, bulk acceleration and deceleration in the jet, and the presence of a helical structure.

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