Jet Bending and the Environment

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7. Jet Bending and the Environment    

In 1984, the jet-confining  media were expected to approximate hydrostatic equilibrium conditions. C-shaped distortions of jets in head-tail sources were explained by motion of the parent galaxy through a calm intracluster atmosphere. Jets with S-shaped distortions were explained by ``precession'',  or at least wobbling, of the central engine. The wide-angle-tail (WAT)  sources did not fit such owner-driver pictures of jet distortion, however, as they imputed large peculiar velocities  to massive galaxies that should be nearly at rest in the cluster potential. As detailed by Burns (these Proceedings), the X-ray emission around many radio sources is clumpy, suggesting dynamic environments prone to high-velocity ``weather" driven by cluster mergers.  If most WAT distortions result from collective motions in surrounding gas rather than from peculiar motions of their parent galaxies, the WATs are no longer a problem, but an opportunity-their distortions may identify recent examples of cluster coalescence.

Alan Bridle
Wed Apr 10 10:19:46 EDT 1996