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Astron. Astrophys. 354, 395-410 (2000)

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On the conversion of blast wave energy into radiation in active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts

Martin Pohl and Reinhard Schlickeiser

Institut für Theoretische Physik, Lehrstuhl IV: Weltraum- und Astrophysik, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, 44780 Bochum, Germany

Received 12 July 1999 / Accepted 22 November 1999


It has been suggested that relativistic blast waves may power the jets of AGN and gamma-ray bursts (GRB). We address the important issue how the kinetic energy of collimated blast waves is converted into radiation. It is shown that swept-up ambient matter is quickly isotropised in the blast wave frame by a relativistic two-stream instability, which provides relativistic particles in the jet without invoking any acceleration process. The fate of the blast wave and the spectral evolution of the emission of the energetic particles is therefore solely determined by the initial conditions. We compare our model with existing multiwavelength data of AGN and find remarkable agreement.

Key words: instabilities – radiation mechanisms: non-thermal – turbulence – galaxies: BL Lacertae objects: general – gamma rays: theory

Send offprint requests to: mkp@tp4.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: February 9, 2000