VLBI for Gravity Probe B. III. A limit on the proper motion of the "core" of the quasar 3C454.3

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1088/0067-0049/201/1/3
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TypeArticle
Journal titleAstrophysical Journal, Supplement Series
ISSN0067-0049
Volume201
Issue1
Article number3
AbstractWe made very long baseline interferometry observations at 8.4GHz between 1997 and 2005 to estimate the coordinates of the "core" component of the superluminal quasar, 3C454.3, the ultimate reference point in the distant universe for the NASA/Stanford Gyroscope Relativity Mission, Gravity Probe B (GP-B). These coordinates are determined relative to those of the brightness peaks of two other compact extragalactic sources, B2250+194 and B2252+172, nearby on the sky, and within a celestial reference frame (CRF), defined by a large suite of compact extragalactic radio sources, and nearly identical to the International Celestial Reference Frame 2 (ICRF2). We find that B2250+194 and B2252+172 are stationary relative to each other, and also in the CRF, to within 1σ upper limits of 15 and 30 μasyr -1 in α and δ, respectively. The core of 3C454.3 appears to jitter in its position along the jet direction over 0.2mas, likely due to activity close to the putative supermassive black hole nearby, but on average is stationary in the CRF within 1σ upper limits on its proper motion of 39 μasyr -1 (1.0c) and 30 μasyr -1 (0.8c) in α and δ, respectively, for the period 2002-2005. Our corresponding limit over the longer interval, 1998-2005, of more importance to GP-B, is 46 and 56 μasyr -1 in α and δ, respectively. Some of 3C454.3's jet components show significantly superluminal motion with speeds of up to 200 μasyr -1 or 5c in the CRF. The core of 3C454.3 thus provides for GP-B a sufficiently stable reference in the distant universe. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (HIA-IHA)
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21269414
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Record identifiera48d5989-8210-40a2-9356-78ce72cc920f
Record created2013-12-12
Record modified2016-05-09
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