ASTROPHYSICAL JETS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     10th July 2024        
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Context: Scientists have traced the effect of plasma composition of astrophysical jets which are outflows of ionized matter that are emitted as extended beams from celestial objects like black holes, neutron stars and pulsars.


Astrophysical Jets

  • About: These are streams of ionized matter expelled as extended beams from celestial objects like black holes, neutron stars, and pulsars.
  • Effect of Plasma: Changes in plasma composition significantly alter the propagation velocities of jets, independent of their initial parameters.
  • Comparison of Jet Types: Jets composed of electrons and positrons exhibit slower velocities compared to those containing protons, despite protons being much more massive.
  • Structural Effects: Plasma composition influences the structure of jets, including the number and strength of recollimation shocks, and the dynamics of reverse shocks.
  • Recollimation Shocks: These are regions within the jet beam formed by interactions with backflowing material, crucial for understanding jet dynamics.
  • Turbulent Structures: Electron-positron jets display pronounced turbulent structures, which contribute to their deceleration and potentially affect long-term stability.


Findings of Recent Studies

  • Recent studies highlight how the composition of plasma in astrophysical jets, emitted from objects like black holes and neutron stars, influences their behavior.
  • Altering plasma composition affects the propagation velocities of these jets, despite starting with identical initial conditions.

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