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Type: Journal article
Title: Factors determining variability time in active galactic nucleus jets
Author: Protheroe, R.
Citation: Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 2002; 19(4):486-498
Publisher: C S I R O Publishing
Issue Date: 2002
ISSN: 1323-3580
Abstract: The relationship between observed variability time and emission region geometry is explored for the case of emission by relativistic jets. The approximate formula for the jet-frame size of the emission region, $R'=Dc\Delta t_{\rm obs}$ is shown to lead to large systematic errors when used together with observed luminosity and assumed or estimated Doppler factor $D$ to estimate the jet-frame photon energy density. These results have implications for AGN models in which low-energy photons are targets for interaction of high energy particles and photons, e.g. synchrotron-self Compton models and hadronic blazar models, as well as models of intra-day variable sources in which the photon energy density imposes a brightness temperature limit through Compton scattering. The actual relationship between emission region geometry and observed variability is discussed for a variety of geometries including cylinders, spheroids, bent, helical and conical jet structures, and intrinsic variability models including shock excitation. The effects of time delays due to finite particle acceleration and radiation time scales are also discussed.
Keywords: Astrophysics (astro-ph)
Rights: © Astronomical Society of Australia 2002
RMID: 0020022649
DOI: 10.1071/AS02008
Appears in Collections:Physics publications

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