Very Energetic Gamma Rays from Microblazars

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Science  29 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5735, pp. 714-715
DOI: 10.1126/science.1116381

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Active galactic nuclei are extremely powerful radiation sources powered by matter falling into a black hole. This accretion is sometimes accompanied by strong jets of material expanding from the black hole, and if the jets are along our line of sight, the objects are referred to as blazars. In his Perspective, Cui discusses results reported in the same issue by Aharonian et al. that may indicate the detection of a microblazar, a blazar's smaller cousin. The researchers observed the emission of very high energy gamma rays from an object called LS 5039 thought to be a microblazar candidate. The observations will provide insight into the likely similar mechanisms that produce the very energetic gamma-ray emissions in microblazars and blazars alike.