Blazar Research at Boston University

Institute for Astrophysical Research

                                                                              People in the Blazar Research Group

Image of the black hole at the center of the radio galaxy M87 by the Event Horizon Telescope

Image of black hole in M87    Simulated images of black hole in M87Galaxy M87 + jet on
kiloparsec scales

Above left: Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) images on 4 days in April 2017 of the region near the black hole in the giant elliptical galaxy M87 at a wavelength of 1.3 mm.  From Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, which includes Alan Marscher & Svetlana Jorstad. These are false-color images, with white representing the highest brightness, orange meaning lower brightness, and black corresponding to no light detected.

Above middle: Simulated images of 3 models corresponding to different physical conditions near the black hole: top images are at full resolution of the simulations, bottom images are those that would be produced at the resolution of the EHT observations. Note the similarity with the actual images.  From Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

Above right: Hubble Space Telescope image of M87 and its jet in visible light (source:

More information, including Marscher & Jorstad's role in the EHT collaboration

VLBA Observations: Projects BEAM-ME (August 2020 to present) & VLBA-BU-BLAZAR (2007 to July 2020): Roughly Monthly VLBA Images of Gamma-Ray Bright Blazars at 43 GHz & 86 GHz (the latter for 14 objects since September 2020) , with Data Files & Graphs of Gamma-ray & Visible-light Brightness Plus Visible-light Polarization vs. Time

VLBI Images of Selected Gamma-ray Bright Blazars at 86 GHz from the Global mm-VLBI Array (GMVA) from 2008 to April 2020

MOBPOL: Multi-Optical-Band Polarization of blazars: research program started in 2016

General Description of Our Research on Blazars    

TEMZ computer model for variability of flux, polarization, and spectral energy distribution of blazars            

Exercise on blazars for students

Prof. Alan Marscher's textbook on cosmology for non-science majors: From Nothing to Everything: The Story of Our Universe

Fermi10 Blog (March 2018) on Gamma-ray Blazar Research, author's version
Prof. Alan Marscher's presentation on Jets from Black Holes in Quasars at the Northeast Astronomy Forum on Saturday April 18, 2009 (for anyone interested in black holes & quasars)

Original Science Songs by Cosmos II, aka Alan Marscher

Dr. Alan Marscher                                      Dr. Svetlana Jorstad

Professor of Astronomy                                       Senior Research Scientist



                                 Melissa Hallum   Ms. Melissa Hallum, Graduate Student

                          Hannah Willy, Undergraduate Student
                Hannah Willy, 4th-year undergraduate Student                         

Matthew Dattolo, Undergraduate Student

Matthew Dattolo, 4th-year Undergraduate Student 

                          Paula Fudolig, Undergraduate Student
                Paula Fudolig, 4th-year undergraduate Student     

                         Nicole Flors, Undergraduate Student
                Nicole Flors, 3rd-year Undergraduate Student 

          Angel Morales, Undergraduate Student

Angel Morales, 2nd-year Undergraduate Student

   Jake Robinson, Undergraduate Student
                Jake Robinson, 1st-year Undergraduate Student 

If you have any questions about the BU Blazar Research Group, please send e-mail to Prof. Marscher.