Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Physics

First Advisor's Name

James R. Webb

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Caroline Simpson

Third Advisor's Name

Walter Van Hamme

Keywords

AGN, Blazars, Kepler, Shock-in-Jet Model, 0716+71

Date of Defense

6-12-2014

Abstract

Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are cores of distant protogalaxies, with a supermassive blackhole at the center surrounded by an accretion disk, and bipolar jets. Blazars, a subset of AGN, have their jets aligned with our line of sight. Emission from blazars is highly variable on all timescales and frequencies. Microvariability refers to rapid continuum variations that arise within the jet. Bhatta et al. (2013) suggest a modified Kirk, Rieger, \& Mastichiadis (1998) model (KRM) to explain microvariability. The KRM model assumes that when shock waves passes though the jet, each turbulent cell encountered produces a pulse of emission characterized by cell size, local density enhancement, and magnetic field strength. NASA's \kepler\ has monitored optical emission from four AGN. We use the modified KRM model to analyze micro-variations in these \kepler\ data. The distribution of cell sizes computed from these data is consistent with the distribution expected from a turbulent plasma.

Identifier

FI14071133

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