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No. 37: Jan-Feb 1985

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Flip-flop radio jets?

Many radio galaxies and quasars are found to have a double-lobed structure, with one lobe on one side of the nucleus and another diametrically opposite. When examined in detail, these lobes turn out to be quite different in size, shape, and intensity. In particular, very bright regions on one lobe often correspond to gaps or regions of low brightness on the other. So striking are these asymmetries that astronomers think that these huge, tremendously energetic systems are ejecting material first from one side then the other. Somehow, one side of the galaxy or quasar communicates with the other, which may be many light years away, and coordinates a flip-flop action. How and why radio galaxies and quasars should flip-flop is a major mystery.

(Anonymous; "Flip-Flop Radio Jets?" Sky and Telescope, 68:506, 1984.)

Comment. This flip-flop action immediately recalls the great elliptical galaxies which seem to be shooting out shells of stars first from one end, then the other.

From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987