First Millimeter Mapping of the Jet and Nucleus of M87

  • V. Despringre
  • D. Fraix-Burnet
Conference paper
Part of the International Astronomical Union book series (IAUS, volume 175)


An intriguing question about extragalactic jets is why they are so few being seen at optical wavelengths, or equivalently, why the cutoff frequency of the synchrotron radiation is generally not in the optical, but rather in the infrared or even in the sub-millimeter domain. The answer is undoubtedly related to the efficiency of the acceleration of the relativistic electrons responsible for the synchrotron emission. The presence of a break at low frequency somewhere in the synchrotron spectrum is another feature that constrains the model parameters, but its precise location is unknown for most jets, because of the lack of photometry in the millimeter domain. It was thus necessary to fill the gap between radio and optical wavelengths in the synchrotron spectrum of optical jets. The required observation had to be of high sensitivity and high spatial resolution (of the order of 1”). Another reason for observing at millimeter wavelengths is that molecular lines and thermal emission from cold dust are detectable in this frequency range.


Radio Source Thermal Emission Relativistic Electron Optical Wavelength Synchrotron Emission 
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  1. Despringre V., Fraix-Burnet D., Davoust E., 1995, A & A in pressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Astronomical Union 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Despringre
    • 1
  • D. Fraix-Burnet
    • 2
  1. 1.Observatoire Midi-PyrénéesToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de GrenobleGrenoble CédexFrance

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