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Astron. Astrophys. 340, L60-L64 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

VSOP imaging of S5 0836+710: a close-up on plasma instabilities in the jet

A.P. Lobanov 1, T.P. Krichbaum 1, A. Witzel 1, A.  Kraus 1, J.A. Zensus 1, S. Britzen 1, 2, K. Otterbein 1, 3, C.A. Hummel 4 and K. Johnston 4

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, D-53121 Bonn, Germany
2 The Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, P.O. Box 2, 7990 AA Dwingeloo, The Netherlands
3 Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Königstuhl, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany
4 United States Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C., USA

Received 19 August 1998 / Accepted 21 October 1998


The luminous high-redshift ([FORMULA]) quasar S5 0836+710 has been observed at 5 GHz with the VSOP. We compare the properties of three images obtained from the observation: a low-resolution ground array image (dynamic range 4600:1), a full-resolution VSOP image (900:1), and an image made with only the space baselines (200:1). The space baselines alone are sufficient for a reliable recovery of the source structure, within the limits of the achieved spatial sampling of the visibility data. The curved jet ridge line observed in the images can be described by Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities developing in a relativistic outflow with the Mach number of about 6. This description holds on the scales of [FORMULA]pc, and is shown to be consistent with variable apparent speeds observed in the jet.

Key words: galaxies: active – galaxies: jets – quasars: individual: 0836+710 – radio continuum: galaxies

Send offprint requests to: A.P. Lobanov

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: November 9, 1998