Fifty Times sharper than Hubble
The Inner Jet of the Radio Galaxy M87 located in the Virgo cluster. The angular resolution of this false-color radio image observed by the VLBA at 2 cm wavelength is approximately one milli-arcsecond, fifty times better than that of the Hubble Space Telescope at optical wavelengths. The image shows a limb brightened jet and a faint counter-jet. The central gap is consistent with the presence of a fast inner jet which is beamed away from the observer surrounded by a slower moving outer plasma seen by the VLBA.
Image: Y.Y. Kovalev, MPIfR Bonn
M87, the central galaxy of the Virgo cluster in a distance of only 50 million light years, was observed by Yuri Kovalev from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronony (MPIfR) in Bonn and colleagues with the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) at 2 cm wavelength. The resulting image provides details down to a resolution of one milli-arcsecond, corresponding to a linear resolution of only three light months. The new image of the inner radio jet of M87 shows a highly collimated jet which appears limb-brightened, and also a faint counter-jet. It is unprecedented in its combination of sensitivity and spatial resolution.
The observations were performed with the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), consisting of ten radio antennas in North America including Hawaii and Virgin Island and an additional telescope from the Very Large Array (VLA) near Socorro, New Mexico. The Effelsberg 100m radio telescope is regularly used for transatlantic baselines extending the VLBA observations. "With the 100m radio telescope, we plan to increase the spatial resolution and provide an even more detailed image of the M87 jet", says Yuri Kovalev.
Posted by: Edwin Source