Principles for selecting a list of reference radio sources for a celestial coordinate system
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Time series of the coordinates of radio sources defining the celestial coordinate frame are analyzed. Methods for selecting such sources so as to enhance the stability of the frame are considered. Some of these sources, including so-called “defining” sources, demonstrate significant proper motions. Since the stability of the celestial coordinate frame is determined by an absence of global rotation relative to the defining sources (no net rotation), variation in their coordinates will lead to a rotation of the axes of the celestial coordinate frame. The parameters of this rotation are calculated for two physical models for the motions of extragalactic radio sources. The motions displayed by the first group of sources are linear and uniform. Since the apparent speeds of radio sources are often close to, and sometimes exceed, the speed of light, it is supposed that such radio sources have relativistic jets or plasma clouds that move with speeds roughly equal to the speed of light. The observed uniform, linear motion can then be explained by precession of the jet. The second group of sources display non-linear motions, interpreted as a manifestation of the acceleration of matter by the jet. It is assumed that a cloud of particles that moves into the path of the jet is accelerated to relativistic speeds by the jet. A list of sources that should form a very stable coordinate system for several decades into the future is composed based on these two models.
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