The Kinematics and X-ray Emission Mechanism of the Large-Scale Jet of 3C 111
Relativistic jets are the most energetic manifestation of the active galactic nucleus (AGN) phenomenon. AGN jets are observed from the radio through gamma rays and carry copious amounts of matter and energy from the sub-parsec central regions out to the kiloparsec and often megaparsec scale galaxy and cluster environs. While most spatially-resolved jets are seen in the radio, an increasing number have been discovered to emit in the optical/near-IR and/or X-ray bands. Here we discuss a spectacular example of this class, the 3C 111 jet, housed in one of the nearest, double-lobed FR II radio galaxies known. We discuss new, deep Chandra and HST observations that reveal both near-IR and X-ray emission from several components of the 3C 111 jet, as well as both the approaching and receding hotspots. Important morphological differences are seen between the radio, X-ray, and near-IR bands. The long (over 100 kpc), straight nature of this jet makes it an excellent prototype for future, deep observations, as it is one of the longest such features seen in the radio, near-IR/optical, and X-ray bands. It is also just the sixth case where both jet lobes have been detected in the X-rays. Several independent lines of evidence, including the X-ray and broadband spectral shape as well as the implied velocity of the approaching hotspot, lead us to strongly disfavor the EC/CMB model and instead favor a two-component synchrotron model to explain the observed X-ray emission for several jet components. Additional future observations with HST, Chandra, and NuSTAR will allow us to greatly expand on the current analyses and constrain the emission mechanisms for many of the faint jet knots.