6. Summary and conclusion
By using most available submillimetre-to-radio observations of 3C 273, we have been able to extract the properties of the spectral and temporal evolution of a typical outburst. The new approach we defined consists in decomposing the light curves into several self-similar outbursts. The main results of our decomposition are the following:
We are aware that our decomposition is far from describing the detailed structure of the light curves and that the jet emission is much more complicated than this work tries to show. Nevertheless, the results suggest that the outbursts we identified are closely related to the VLBI knots, and hence that they describe a physical aspect of the jet. The new approach presented here is a powerful tool to derive the observed properties of millimetre and radio outbursts. It allows comparison between shock models and the observations and we are confident that such decompositions are able to further constrain present and future shock models. Finally, we would like to stress the importance of long-term multi-wavelength monitoring campaigns, which turn out to be essential towards a better understanding of the physics involved in relativistic jets.
© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999
Online publication: August 25, 1999