The Parsec-Scale Structure and Jet Motions of the TeV Blazars 1ES 1959+650, PKS 2155-304, and 1ES 2344+514

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As part of our study of the VLBI properties of TeV blazar jets, we present here a series of high-resolution 15 GHz Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) images of the parsec-scale jets of the TeV blazars 1ES 1959+650, PKS 2155-304, and 1ES 2344+514, with linear resolutions of ~0.5 pc. Each of these sources was observed with the VLBA at three or four epochs during 1999 and 2000. There is a notable lack of any strong moving components on the VLBI images (in contrast to the rapid superluminal motions seen in EGRET blazars), and the structure of the VLBI jet can be modeled either as a series of stationary Gaussian components or as a smooth power law for two of the sources (PKS 2155-304 and 1ES 2344+514). The low apparent speeds, together with beaming indicators such as the brightness temperature of the VLBI core, imply only modest Doppler boosting of the VLBI radio emission and only modest bulk Lorentz factors (δ and Γ ≈ a few), in contrast to the more extreme values of these parameters invoked to explain the high-energy emission. The fact that no moving shocks or plasmoids are seen on the parsec scale suggests that the shocks or plasmoids that are assumed to be responsible for the high-energy flares must dissipate before they separate from the core on the VLBI images. This requires the loss of a substantial amount of bulk kinetic energy on parsec scales and implies a higher efficiency than is typically assumed for internal shock scenarios.

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