Conference talk Heino Falcke

Heino Falcke
Radboud University Nijmegen
The power of (astrophysical) jets

 In contrast to popular belief black holes are not just black, but they can be the most efficient power generators in the universe. In their deep gravitational wells matter falls towards the event horizon producing a hot, magnetized plasma producing bright radiation. Magnetic fields are wound up and produce powerful relativistic plasma jets, which leave the system along the rotation axis of the black hole. While the exact mechanism for jet formation is not yet clear, these jets seem to be rather ubiquitous. The overall kinetic and magnetic power released in jets can be an appreciable fraction of the overall energy produced in the accretion process. The highly magnetized plasma and relativistic speeds seem to provide ideal conditions for accelerating relativistic particles, which leads to synchrotron and inverse Compton emission ranging from radio to gamma rays, making jet inherently broad-band sources as well as candidate sources for ultra-high energy cosmic rays. Radio telescopes are particularly suited to pick out and study radio jets on all scales, ranging form the largest scales, probed, e.g. by the new LOFAR telescope, down to the event horizon, probed by very long baseline interferometry.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 11:50 - 12:40