A New Source of Gamma Rays

Science  30 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5475, pp. 2326
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5475.2326

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Relativistic outflows or "jets" are collimated streams of high-energy electrons that emit synchrotron radiation at radio wavelengths and have bulk velocities that are a substantial fraction of the speed of light. They trace the outflow of enormous amounts of energy and matter from a central supermassive black hole in distant radio galaxies. As Fender explains in this Perspective, much smaller, more local sources may also produce such jets. Data presented by Paredes et al. point toward association of one such source, a relatively faint x-ray binary, with a gamma-ray source. This and similar pairs may contribute substantially to the production of high-energy particles and photons within our galaxy.