Jet-launching structure resolved near the supermassive black hole in M87

Sheperd S. Doeleman, Vincent L. Fish, David E. Schenck, Christopher Beaudoin, Ray Blundell, Geoffrey C. Bower, Avery E. Broderick, Richard Chamberlin, Robert Freund, Per Friberg, Mark A. Gurwell, Paul T.P. Ho, Mareki Honma, Makoto Inoue, Thomas P. Krichbaum, James Lamb, Abraham Loeb, Colin Lonsdale, Daniel P. Marrone, James M. MoranTomoaki Oyama, Richard Plambeck, Rurik A. Primiani, Alan E.E. Rogers, Daniel L. Smythe, Jason SooHoo, Peter Strittmatter, Remo P.J. Tilanus, Michael Titus, Jonathan Weintroub, Melvyn Wright, Ken H. Young, Lucy M. Ziurys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Scopus citations


Approximately 10% of active galactic nuclei exhibit relativistic jets, which are powered by the accretion of matter onto supermassive black holes. Although the measured width profiles of such jets on large scales agree with theories of magnetic collimation, the predicted structure on accretion disk scales at the jet launch point has not been detected. We report radio interferometry observations, at a wavelength of 1.3 millimeters, of the elliptical galaxy M87 that spatially resolve the base of the jet in this source. The derived size of 5.5 ± 0.4 Schwarzschild radii is significantly smaller than the innermost edge of a retrograde accretion disk, suggesting that the M87 jet is powered by an accretion disk in a prograde orbit around a spinning black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-358
Number of pages4
Issue number6105
StatePublished - Oct 19 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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