Bayesian inference of jet bulk-flow speeds in Fanaroff–Riley type II radio sources
Radio jet and core data for a complete sample of 98 Fanaroff–Riley type II sources with z < 1 are analysed with a Markov Chain Monte Carlo model fitting method to obtain constraints on bulk-flow speeds in the beam. The Bayesian parameter-inference method is described and demonstrated to be capable of providing meaningful constraints on the Lorentz factor at both kpc and parsec scales. For both jets and cores, we show that models in which some intrinsic dispersion is present in the features' intrinsic prominence, bulk-flow speeds or both provide the best fit to the data. The constraints on the Lorentz factor on parsec scales are found to be consistent with the expected values given very long baseline interferometry observations and other evidence, with . On kpc scales, the Lorentz factor is found to be ≈1.18–1.49, in agreement with the results of previous analyses of radio jet data. These values are clearly not consistent with the γ≈ 10 speeds required by beamed inverse-Compton models of X-ray emission from quasar jets; our results therefore support models that require velocity structure in powerful jets.