A Review of Astrophysical Jets
Proceedings of XII Multifrequency Behaviour of High Energy Cosmic Sources Workshop — PoS(MULTIF2017)
This review continues a series that considers our evolving understanding of the nature of astrophysical jets. These have been defined as linear structures on the sky, typically bi-polar, and originating from a common source. Ironically, the original modeling consisted of analytically solveable estimates of radiation processes based on spherical symmetry. We now know that jets are associated with outflows originating from accretion processes in star-forming regions, compact objects (such as
... on stars and black holes), γ-ray bursts associated with stellar collapse, active galactic nuclei, and in some pulsars. In pulsars, the jet production can be drawn from angular momentum loss from the pular. In accreting systems, the jet production seems to be entangled intimately with processes in the accretion disks around the compact objects. The jets can be extremely powerful in terms both of their kinetic luminosity and radiative signatures, and often emit radiation over the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to γ-rays. Astrophysical jets often appear to be one-sided and Doppler boosted. This phenomenon is usually interpreted as evidence of bulk relativistic motion of the emitting particles. In the last three decades and more and as a result of observing campaigns using detectors sensitive from radio to γ-ray energies, theoretical models of these sources have become richer and more complex. As noted above, models have moved from assumptions of isotropy that made analytic calculations possible, to fully anisotropic models of emission from the jets and their interactions with the interstellar and intra-cluster medium. Such anisotropic calculations are only possible because we now have extensive computational resources that can solver the rather complex emission models that result from such anisotropies. In addition, the degree of international cooperation required for observing campaigns of these sorts is remarkable, since the instruments include among others the Very Large Array (VLA), the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the millimeter wave interferometeter network, and entire constellations of satellite instruments, often working in concert. This last point is critically important. The increased resolution of observational systems has taken us from degrees to arcminutes to arcseconds to milliarcseconds, and now to microarcseconds in certain instances. The milliarscecond and microarcsecond observations have shown us the truly dynamic nature of the emitting regions of these remarkable objects. In this paper, I discuss some relevant observations from these efforts and the theoretical interpretations they have occasioned.