Blazars (also known as BL Lac objects), first discovered in 1978, are unusually energetic objects in the extragalactic universe. About 200 are known or suspected. They are radio sources with highly variable optical and radio emission, as well as high polarization, and their optical spectra normally have no distinguishable features. It is generally accepted that they belong to that class of galaxies with active galactic nuclei, which are presumed to be driven by infall of matter to a supermassive black hole. In this book researchers give a complete summary of the observations of blazars and the theoretical interpretation. A comprehensive listing of confirmed and candidate objects is included. Mechanisms in which the variability can arise from shocks and relativistic jets are discussed. There are at least four different answers given to the question: what is a blazar? This book is a complete overview of the violent activity observed in these extreme active galactic nuclei.
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