News of the WeekAstrophysics

Quasars or Blazars? It's All in the Angle

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Science  15 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5524, pp. 1985
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5524.1985a

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Summary

New observations strongly suggest that a wide variety of extragalactic objects are actually the same cosmic animal seen from different angles. On page 2050, researchers using a sensitive spectrograph to study light emitted by ionized carbon and hydrogen atoms in gas clouds close to the cores of 62 quasars conclude that there's really no difference between radio-emitting quasars and the brighter objects known as blazars. Blazars look more volatile and variable only because astronomers are viewing their jets head on.