Galaxy shells and the structure of radio galaxies: clues from centaurus A (NGC 5128)

Gopal-Krishna, ; Wiita, Paul J. (2010) Galaxy shells and the structure of radio galaxies: clues from centaurus A (NGC 5128) New Astronomy, 15 (1). pp. 96-101. ISSN 1384-1076

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We show that the northern middle radio lobe of Cen A, an intriguing and much debated manifestation of radio lobe asymmetry, can be understood in terms of a direct interaction of the northern jet with a gaseous cloud associated with a stellar shell. This same basic mechanism was proposed earlier for the northern inner lobe, but new data allows a more detailed case to be made for the northern middle lobe. Although such an interaction can presently be demonstrated only for Cen A, the nearest radio galaxy, it is likely to be a fairly common occurrence and it provides an alternative to models invoking episodic nuclear activity, possibly accompanied with jet precession, for radio galaxies with multiple lobes and S-shapes. This proposed scenario may also play a key role in the origin of prominent radio galaxy morphological classes, such as the Wide-Angle-Tail sources and the Z-symmetric X-shaped radio sources. The strong tendency for radio lobes to be more distorted in double radio sources with jets that are in closer alignment with the optical major axis of the host elliptical galaxy can likewise be understood in terms of jet-shell interactions. In the frequent cases when jet activity is triggered by mergers of a large elliptical galaxy with a disk galaxy containing cold gas the impact of the gas associated with stellar shells upon the jets is likely to have significant manifestations.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Science.
Keywords:Galaxies: Active; Galaxies: Individual (Centaurus A - NGC 5128); Galaxies: ISM; Galaxies: Jets
ID Code:76587
Deposited On:04 Jan 2012 07:18
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 03:42

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