Jets on all scales: a phenomenological view of collimated outflows and their importance for cosmic structure

Type Conference Paper
Names Sebastian Heinz
Conference Name American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #224
Volume 224
Date June 1, 2014
Short Title Jets on all scales
Library Catalog
Abstract The concept of a relativistic jet is simple: A bundled flow of momentum and energy, launched by an accretion flow onto a massive compact object - most commonly a black hole. Phenomenologically, jets do indeed show a range of simple properties that connect them across a wide range of scales: similar radiative processes and observational signatures, similar efficiencies in converting accreted mass to outflow energy, similar morphologies. This common, apparent simplicity in observable properties hides the complex plasma astrophysics at work in the creation of the often ultra-relativistic flows we observe in extragalactic jets. It indicates that the underlying processes, if not simple, are at least similar in a wide range of objects and suggests that we may learn a lot about the properties of jets and the central engines that create them even in the absence of a complete understanding of jet acceleration and collimation. The scientific benefit of such an approach can be significant: For example, we now know that jets are energetically important in the context of cosmic structure formation and galaxy evolution, and phenomenological scaling models can provide well calibrated models for how jets impact their environments.I will present an overview of jet phenomenology and how an integrated view of the problem for a wide range of black hole properties can inform models of jet creation as well as global models of feedback on interstellar and intergalactic scales.
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