Shedding Light on Black Holes

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1815-1816
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1815

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Radio astronomers have long known about extremely strong radiation sources such as Cygnus A and Virgo A, but the origin of the energy has been a mystery. As Reid discusses in his Perspective, astronomers have increasingly come to accept the notion that these bright radio sources are powered by massive black holes. Results reported in the same issue by Hirabayashi et al . add to that understanding. Images taken with the very long baseline interferometry Space Observatory Program (VSOP) show the radio frequency-emitting core of Virgo A in unprecedented detail.