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Astron. Astrophys. 342, L29-L31 (1999)

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Letter to the Editor

Probing the jet in the binary black hole model of the quasar OJ287

M.J. Valtonen, H.J. Lehto and H. Pietilä

Tuorla Observatory and Department of Physics, University of Turku, FIN-21500 Piikkiö, Finland

Received 2 November 1998 / Accepted 21 December 1998


A binary black hole model has been used to calculate the optical light curve of the quasar OJ287 in the 1990's. So far the model has been successful in predicting three outbursts and one fade; an accidental probability of correct predictions is less than one part in a million. Thus we may use the model to probe the structure of the quasar below [FORMULA] arcsec resolution. The most important information in this respect comes from the 1989 and 1998 fades which are interpreted as eclipses in the model. The time delays from radio to optical in 1989 may be used to position the emission regions in the jet, and the 1998 fade provides further constraints on the model. A high relativistic Lorentz factor ([FORMULA]) is suggested, in agreement with microvariability data by Dreher et al.. A direct link between the jet emission regions and the accretion disk is suggested by matching the radio and optical light curves with the transfer rates of matter in the accretion disk at different radial distances. This link may be provided by magnetospheric field lines.

Key words: galaxies: jets – galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: individual: OJ287

Send offprint requests to: M.J. Valtonen

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: February 22, 1999