This book reviews the phenomenology displayed by relativistic jets as well as the most recent theoretical efforts to understand the physical mechanisms at their origin. Relativistic jets have been observed and studied in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) for about half a century and are believed to be fueled by accretion onto a supermassive black hole at the center of the host galaxy. Since the first discovery of relativistic jets associated with so-called "micro-quasars" much more recently, it has seemed clear that much of the physics governing the relativistic outflows in stellar X-ray binaries harboring black holes and in AGN must be common, but acting on very different spatial and temporal scales. With new observational and theoretical results piling up every day, this book attempts to synthesize a consistent, unified physical picture of the formation and disruption of jets in accreting black-hole systems.
The chapters in this book offer overviews accessible not only to specialists but also to graduate students and astrophysicists working in other areas. Covered topics comprise
- Relativistic jets in stellar systems
- Launching of AGN jets
- Parsec-scale AGN jets
- Kiloparsec-scale AGN jets
- Black hole magnetospheres
- Theory of relativistic jets
- The structure and dynamics of the inner accretion disk
- The origin of the jet magnetic field
- X-ray observations, phenomenology, and connection with theory
About the Author
Ioannis Contopoulos is a Senior Researcher at the Academy of Athens. His field of research is magnetohydrodynamics with focus on astrophysical jets and winds.Denise Gabuzda is a Senior Lecturer at the Physics Department, University College Cork. She is working on AGN jets, searching for observational evidence for the presence of helical jet magnetic fields. Together with Ioannis Contopoulos et al. she has discovered observational evidence for the operation of a Poynting-Robertson Battery operating in AGN accretion disks.Nikos Kylafis is Professor & Dean of the School of Sciences at the University of Crete. His research interests are in Theoretical Astrophysics with special interests in Radiation Transfer, (Jets from) Compact X-ray Sources, Spiral Galaxies, and Astrophysical MASERs.