Radio Jet in 3C120
November 4, 2003
This pseudo color image shows the structure of the 1.66 GHz emission from the radio source 3C120 as measured by the VLBA in June 1994. The resolution is 0.015 by 0.007 arcseconds with the higher resolution in the east-west direction. The radio jet is seen extending from the bright core region, where the energy is presumably generated, to about 0.5 arcseconds, or almost 1000 light years. Other observations with both VLBI and the VLA have shown this source to have emission on scales from significantly less than a light year to well over a million light years. The inner few light years of the jet have long been known to show motions of components at speeds faster than that of light. This is the well known "superluminal motion" seen in many bright, compact radio sources. No violation of relativity is involved, just a projection effect for a source moving near the speed of light almost directly toward the observer.
Topics: Interferometry, Astrophysics, Radio astronomy, energy, Technology Internet, Very Long Baseline Interferometry, Speed of light, Superluminal motion