Active galaxies are the most luminous objects known in the Universe. They are powered by the accretion of material onto supermassive black holes (SMBH), of the order of billion solar masses, lurking at the center of these galaxies. The accretion process yields to the formation of very powerful and highly collimated jets, transporting material at speeds very close to that of light to distances far beyond the size of the host galaxy.

Despite decades of research, the study of jets in active galactic nuclei still presents fundamental questions, being therefore one of the most active research fields in Astrophysics. Our research project is aimed to obtain a better understanding of these basic questions, and in particular to study: i) the structure of the magnetic field and its influence in the jet dynamics and observed emission; ii) the innermost jet structure – where jets are collimated and accelerated – and the emission processes at high energies; iii) the phenomenon of jet precession, and the SMBH+disk+jet connection; and iv) the propagation and interaction of the jet with the host galaxy.

Our research is carried out through simultaneous polarimetric observations at multiple wave bands, from radio – through very long baseline interferometry experiments – to mm, sub-mm, optical, X and gamma rays. These observations are interpreted through the comparison with our numerical models.

For a general overview of our research you can download a paper we published in the Spanish edition of the Scientific American magazine, called Investigación y Ciencia.

Team Members

Dr. Jose L. Gómez, Dr. Iván Agudo, Dr. Sol N. Molina, and Antonio Fuentes at the Instittuo de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC), and external collaborators Alan P. Marscher, Svetlana Jorstad at Boston University. Our group also maintains a long collaboration with Jose M. Martí, Jose M. Ibáñez, and Manuel Perucho of Valencia Universiy, and Wolfgang Steffen at the Instituto de Astronomía (UNAM).

Research topics

Some of the main research topics in which our group is involved are:

  1. Jet dynamics and emission. VLBI observations allow us to study the jet kinematics and magnetic field structure in jets of AGN with parsec-scale resolution.

  2. Inner jet structure and emission at high energies. This study is performed through simultaneous polarimetric multi-wavelength observations, from radio to gamma-rays.

  3. Numerical simulations. Computation of the non-thermal jet emission allows a better understanding of the jet physics through its comparison with actual observations.


Relativistic Jets and Blazars group at IAA