Sources of Relativistic Jets in the Galaxy

I. F. Mirabel, L. F. Rodríguez
1999 Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics  
Black holes of stellar mass and neutron stars in binary systems are first detected as hard X-ray sources using high-energy space telescopes. Relativistic jets in some of these compact sources are found by means of multiwavelength observations with ground-based telescopes. The X-ray emission probes the inner accretion disk and immediate surroundings of the compact object, whereas the synchrotron emission from the jets is observed in the radio and infrared bands, and in the future could be
more » ... d at even shorter wavelengths. Black-hole X-ray binaries with relativistic jets mimic, on a much smaller scale, many of the phenomena seen in quasars and are thus called microquasars. Because of their proximity, their study opens the way for a better understanding of the relativistic jets seen elsewhere in the Universe. From the observation of two-sided moving jets it is inferred that the ejecta in microquasars move with relativistic speeds similar to those believed to be present in quasars. The simultaneous multiwavelength approach to microquasars reveals in short timescales the close connection between instabilities in the accretion disk seen in the X-rays, and the ejection of relativistic clouds of plasma observed as synchrotron emission at longer wavelengths. Besides contributing to a deeper comprehension of accretion disks and jets, microquasars may serve in the future to determine the distances of jet sources using constraints from special relativity, and the spin of black holes using general relativity.
doi:10.1146/annurev.astro.37.1.409 fatcat:7hzvn6ujtbelvb6h6aresuqe34