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H. Landt (STScI), P. Padovani (STScI)
In the optical wavelength range the distinction between a radio galaxy and a BL Lac object is mainly based on the Ca II H and K break observed in the optical spectrum. Marchã et al. (1996, MNRAS, 281, 425) have expanded on the previously used division by suggesting objects with Ca II break values lower than 0.4 to be classified as BL Lacs and sources with values higher than 0.4 to be classified as galaxies.
We present new evidence that there is a smooth transition between BL Lac objects and Fanaroff-Riley type I radio galaxies. We find an increase in X-ray and radio core luminosity as the Ca II break gets more and more diluted. This suggests that the only difference between BL Lac objects and their parent population lies in orientation. The closer the jet of the radio galaxy to the observer's line of sight, the more its luminosity gets amplified and the object becomes BL Lac-like.
We will address the question of the BL Lac parent population and will propose to unify the beamed and unbeamed objects in nomenclature.