Recollimation and radiative focusing of relativistic jets: Applications to blazars and M87

Omer Bromberg*, Amir Levinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Recent observations of M87 and some blazars reveal violent activity in small regions located at relatively large distances from the central engine. Motivated by these considerations, we study the hydrodynamic collimation of a relativistic cooling outflow using a semianalytical model developed earlier. We first demonstrate that radiative cooling of the shocked outflow layer can lead to a focusing of the outflow and its reconfinement in a region having a very small cross-sectional radius. Such a configuration can produce rapid variability at large distances from the central engine via reflections of the converging recollimation shock. Possible applications of this model to TeV blazars are discussed. We then apply our model to M87. The low radiative efficiency of the M87 jet renders focusing unlikely. However, the shallow profile of the ambient medium pressure inferred from observations results in extremely good collimation that can explain the reported variability of the X-ray flux emitted from the HST-1 knot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1274-1280
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: individual (M87)
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Radiation mechanisms: non-thermal
  • Shock waves


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