The Milliarcsecond Structure of Active Galactic Nuclei Observed with VLBI
Very Long Baseline Interferometry at radio wavelengths is the only technique available for imaging the central few parsecs of powerful radio galaxies and quasars. VLBI observations have shown that in many nuclei radio-emitting material is collimated into a jet on a scale less than a parsec and ejected at relativistic velocities. The interpretation of the observations is complicated by the relativistic motion, however: the images are dominated by those parts of the source that are moving almost directly towards the observer, and thus amplified by relativistic aberration. Nonetheless, the VLBI images are vital for understanding the nature of the central engine, the cause of the collimation, and the physics of the jets.
Additional Information© 1989 by the IAU. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under grant AST 85-09822.