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Discovery of a Luminous Radio Transient 460 pc from the Central Supermassive Black Hole in Cygnus A

Perley, DA and Perley, RA and Dhawan, V and Carilli, CL (2017) Discovery of a Luminous Radio Transient 460 pc from the Central Supermassive Black Hole in Cygnus A. The Astrophysical Journal, 841 (2). ISSN 1538-4357

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Abstract

We report the appearance of a new radio source at a projected offset of 460 pc from the nucleus of Cygnus A. The flux density of the source (which we designate Cygnus A-2) rose from an upper limit of <0.5 mJy in 1989 to 4 mJy in 2016 (ν = 8.5 GHz), but is currently not varying by more than a few percent per year. The radio luminosity of the source is comparable to the most luminous known supernovae, it is compact in Very Long Baseline Array observations down to a scale of 4 pc, and it is coincident with a near-infrared point source seen in pre-existing adaptive optics and HST observations. The most likely interpretation of this source is that it represents a secondary supermassive black hole in a close orbit around the Cygnus A primary, though an exotic supernova model cannot be ruled out. The gravitational influence of a secondary SMBH at this location may have played an important role in triggering the rapid accretion that has powered the Cygnus A radio jet over the past 107 years.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences, 0305 Organic Chemistry, 0306 Physical Chemistry (Incl. Structural)
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2017 08:49
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 08:49
DOI or Identification number: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa725b
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6786

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