Over the past several years a considerable body of evidence has accumulated, suggesting that extended radio sources are powered quasi-continuously from the nuclei of their parent galaxies. This view is supported by the recent discovery that several radio galaxies have narrow radio jets which connect their active nuclei with the large radio lobes and which often extend for several tens of kiloparsecs. Because of their presumed association with the energy transport outward from the active nuclei, radio jets are at present being intensively studied with high-resolution radio techniques.
The closest galaxy known to have a radio jet is the giant elliptical M87 (e.g., Wilkinson 1974), and in this case there is a well-known optical counterpart (e.g., Curtis 1918; de Vaucouleurs, Angione and Fraser 1968), This optical jet is highly polarized (Baade 1956), implying that at least part of the emission is non-thermal. This and the good agreement between the optical and radio structure suggests that these features are closely related.