H. Falcke/Compact Radio Cores in the Galactic Center and Elsewhere

Compact Radio Cores in the Galactic Center and Elsewhere

Heino Falcke

Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2421, USA

IAU Coll. 163, "Accretion Phenomena and Related Outflows", PASP Conf. Proc. Ser. 121, Wickramasinghe D., Bicknell G.V., Ferrario L. (eds.), 647-658


Compact radio cores are not only common in radio galaxies and quasars but also in many nearby galaxies with low-active, supermassive black holes. One famous example is the Galactic Center source Sgr A*. Recent studies of proper motions and radial velocities of stars in the inner parsec of the Galaxy convincingly demonstrate the presence of a compact dark mass of 2.5 106 Mo in the nucleus of the Milky Way. Millimeter VLBI and submm observations of Sgr A* thus probe a region of only a few Schwarzschild radii in diameter. In this paper I will review our current theoretical and observational knowledge of this source and compare it to some famous LINER galaxies like NGC 4258, NGC 3079, and NGC 6500. In all cases these radio cores can be well explained by a standard AGN jet model, and, with the exception of Sgr A*, large scale outflows are observed that have powers comparable to those inferred from the radio cores. Recent VLBI observations of radio-weak quasars and HST observations of Seyfert galaxies indicate that these AGN also produce powerful jets which, however, have relatively less luminous radio cores than radio-loud quasars and the LINERs discussed here. Therefore, jets and compact radio cores appear to be natural constituents of an AGN, but the reason why apparently some jets are radio-loud and others not remains a mystery.

Paper: Available in PostScript and (PASP)LaTex.

Other publications can be found here.

Questions: Heino Falcke, hfalcke@astro.umd.edu