Reconfinement of highly magnetized jets: Implications for HST-1 in M87

A. Levinson*, N. Globus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stationary features are occasionally observed in active galactic nucleus jets. A notable example is the HST-1 knot in M87. Such features are commonly interpreted as reconfinement shocks in hydrodynamic jets or focusing nozzles in Poynting jets. In this paper, we compute the structure and Lorentz factor of a highly magnetized jet confined by external pressure having a profile that flattens abruptly at some radius. We find the development of strong oscillations upon transition from the steeper to the flatter pressure profile medium. Analytic formula is derived for the location of the nodes of these oscillations. We apply the model to the M87 jet and show that if the jet remains magnetically dominated up to sub-kiloparsec scales, then focusing is expected. The location of the HST-1 knot can be reconciled with recent measurements of the pressure profile around the Bondi radius if the jet luminosity satisfies Lj ≃ 1043 erg s−1. However, we find that magnetic domination at the collimation break implies a Lorentz factor in excess of 102, atypical to Fanaroff-Riley type I sources. A much lower value of the asymptotic Lorentz factor would require substantial loading close to the black hole. In that case, HST-1 may be associated with a collimation nozzle of a hydrodynamic flow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1608-1612
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: jets
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Shock waves


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