Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movies of SS433

SS 433 is a microquasar that continuously emits a pair of powerful jets visible with optical, x-ray, and of course radio telescopes.  One of the unique things about SS 433 is that its jets appear to have a corkscrew-esque shape on the sky.  This is because the "nozzles" of the jets precess wildly.  You can think of it like water shooting out of a garden hose that is being twirled around in your hand.   

Using a series of five 5 GHz (C-Band) VLA images of SS 433, I have made a couple of movies that nicely illustrate the jet motion.  They span roughly 3 months in the summer of 2007.  The first movie is of total radio power and in it you can see the spiral jet pattern propagate outward radially from the bright central source.  The second movie shows the evolution of the linear polarization in the jets (contours are of polarized intensity and the tick marks indicate the polarization angle). 

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