Flashing Superluminal Components in the Jet of the Radio Galaxy 3C120

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Science  29 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5488, pp. 2317-2320
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5488.2317

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A 16-month sequence of radio images of the active galaxy 3C120 with the Very Long Baseline Array reveals a region in the relativistic jet where superluminal components flash on and off over time scales of months, while the polarization angle rotates. This can be explained by interaction between the jet and an interstellar cloud located about 8 parsecs from the center of the galaxy. The cloud, which rotates the polarization direction and possibly eclipses a section of the jet, represents a “missing link” between the ultradense broad–emission-line clouds closer to the center and the lower density narrow–emission-line clouds seen on kiloparsec scales.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jlgomez{at}

  • Formerly S. G. Marchenko.

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