Internal entrainment and the origin of jet-related broad-band emission in Centaurus A

Sarka Wykes, M.J. Hardcastle, Amanda I. Karakas, Jorick S. Vink

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The dimensions of Fanaroff-Riley class I jets and the stellar densities at galactic centres imply that there will be numerous interactions between the jet and stellar winds. These may give rise to the observed diffuse and 'knotty' structure of the jets in the X-ray, and can also mass load the jets. We performed modelling of internal entrainment from stars intercepted by Centaurus A's jet, using stellar evolution- and wind codes. From photometry and a codesynthesized population of 12 Gyr (Z = 0.004), 3 Gyr (Z = 0.008) and 0-60 Myr (Z = 0.02) stars, appropriate for the parent elliptical NGC 5128, the total number of stars in the jet is ∼8 × 108. Our model is energetically capable of producing the observed X-ray emission, even without young stars. We also reproduce the radio through X-ray spectrum of the jet, albeit in a downstream region with distinctly fewer young stars, and recover the mean X-ray spectral index.We derive an internal entrainment rate of ∼2.3 × 10-3M yr-1 which implies substantial jet deceleration. Our absolute nucleosynthetic yields for the Asymptotic Giant Branch stellar population in the jet show the highest amounts for 4He, 16O, 12C, 14N and 20Ne. If some of the events at ≥55 EeV detected by the Pierre Auger Observatory originate from internal entrainment in Centaurus A, we predict that their composition will be largely intermediate-mass nuclei with 16O, 12C and 14N the key isotopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1013
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2015


  • Acceleration of particles
  • Galaxies: individual: centaurus a
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Outflows
  • Radiationmechanisms: non-thermal
  • Stars: mass-loss
  • Stars: winds


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