CGRO and IUE observations suggest that the strong, aperiodic variability seen in the Exosat long-look observations of AGN extends over a much wider energy band. Some BL Lac objects (but no Seyfert 1 galaxies) have shown X-ray variations which were so rapid that they violate the assumptions of isotropy inherent in the Eddington limit. In the ultraviolet, Seyfert 1s as a class show an anti-correlation between the variability amplitude and luminosity, while BL Lacs show a positive correlation. Furthermore, Seyfert 1s show strong flux-correlated spectral variability, while BL Lacs show little or none. All of this suggests that the high-energy continua of BL Lacs are beamed towards us, while the ultraviolet continua of Seyfert 1s are emitted isotropically.
The November 1991 multi-waveband monitoring of the BL Lac PKS 2155−304 showed strong correlated variability, with the soft X-rays leading the ultraviolet by a few hours, and no measurable lag between the ultraviolet and optical down to a limit of ≲ 1.5 hr. This indicates that the X-rays from this BL Lac are not produced by Compton upscattering, and that the ultraviolet does not come directly from a thermal source such as an accretion disk. This also strongly constrains the relativistic jet model, suggesting that all of the radiation is produced in a flattened region like a shock front.
Low temporal resolution ultraviolet/optical monitoring of the Seyfert 1 NGC 5548 in 1989 yielded a strong correlation with no measurable lag to a limit of ≲4 days, casting some doubt on the standard model of thermal emission from an accretion disk in Seyfert 1s. Upcoming X-ray/ultraviolet/optical monitoring of the Seyfert 1 NGC 4151 in December 1993 will have much faster sampling, to permit a strong test of both this model and the competing reprocessing model.