Supermassive black hole firing mysterious jet in first-ever image of phenomenon captured by astronomers | Science and technology news


For the first time, a black hole has been imaged emitting a powerful jet.

The image shows a glowing circle at the center of a galaxy known as messier 87 (M87), about 55 million light-years from Earth.

A light-year is the distance that light travels in one year, which is 5.9 trillion miles (9.5 trillion kilometers).

A large bright ray emanates from the black hole, which is connected to the matter surrounding it.

Scientists used data collected from more than a dozen telescopes around the world to stitch the image together.

Jae-Young Kim from Kyungpook National University in South Korea and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany said: “This new image completes the picture by simultaneously showing the region around the black hole and the jet.”

Black hole M87 is supermassive, with a mass 6.5 billion times that of our Sun, and is larger and more luminous than our Milky Way.

It was first recorded four years ago as a blurry, fiery donut-shaped object, but not as a jet.

But using data from 14 telescopes as far apart as Greenland and Chile, astronomers created an image of black hole M87 that shows a powerful ray emerging from its shadow – the dark region surrounded by a bright ring of light is surrounded.

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This ring is created by material that glows very hot as it orbits the black hole.

Black holes are celestial bodies that have such a strong gravitational pull that neither matter nor light can escape.

The European Southern Observatory said the current image was taken with radio light emitted at a longer wavelength, which made the jet visible.

Thomas Krichbaum from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said: “At this wavelength we can see the jet exiting the emission ring around the central supermassive black hole.”

The researchers said they would continue to study how supermassive black holes emit powerful jets — one of the galaxy’s most mysterious features.

Eduardo Ros from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy said: “We plan to observe the region around the black hole at the center of M87 at different radio wavelengths to further study the emission from the jet.

“Such simultaneous observations would allow the team to unravel the intricate processes occurring near the supermassive black hole.

“The years to come will be exciting as we learn more about what is happening near one of the most mysterious regions in the universe.”

The observations are reported in the journal Nature.

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