Calculating imaginary things.
These days I’ve been recalculating some important properties about the light seen coming out these jets.
Actually, my calculations concern the first little bit of the jet coming out of the central dot (that’s where a supermassive black hole is thought to reside). I wrote “recalculating” because people (including my advisor and his advisor) have done this before. So it ain’t that exciting, but still I’m getting my feet wet. The other disheartening part is that the assumptions I’m making are way too simple. We’re assuming the magnetic field looks like a spring (helical) and the jet is cylindrical. However, jets are far more messy than this, we can only hope that our simple model describes the average properties of the light we see.
So I spend my time calculating stuff we would see from an imagninary object hoping that it will bear some resemblance to the actual beast out there. Following Obama, I’ll call this the audacity of theoretical astrophysics.