AUG 20, 2022 9:18 AM PDT

Biggest Black Hole Jet from A Nearby Galaxy

WRITTEN BY: Amanpreet Kaur

There is an extremely active black hole at the very center of galaxy NGC 2663 that is releasing an enormous amount of energy via a jet coming out of it and moving away from the galaxy. In simple terms, these jets are formed by electrons traveling almost at the speed of light in paths shaped by the magnetic field around them. Astronomically speaking, this galaxy is a nearby one, at only 93 million light years away from us, and it is elliptical in nature, which also means it is an older type of galaxy.  Its mass is about 10 times more than our own Milky Way galaxy. Check out this video to learn more about the jets in galaxies:

A team of astronomers from Western Sydney University, Australia, recently looked at this galaxy using an array of radio telescopes, also known as Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), which consists of 36 radio dishes. The idea is to use all these dishes together to form a big powerful telescope, which otherwise is hard to manufacture due to the required large size of a single dish. 

They found that a powerful stream of material that spans about 50 times the size of the galaxy itself is shooting out of the center of this galaxy, which is absolutely coming from its central engine, aka the supermassive black hole at its center. This is the biggest such jet found coming out of a galaxy and it means that there is a lot of material in the interstellar medium which is being pushed against this jet creating “shock diamonds”. These are not real diamonds, but just bright spots in the jet which appear like bright diamonds. These are called shock diamonds because the spots are created by the shock waves produced by the interaction between the interstellar medium as well as the jet which travels at almost the speed of light.  This work was just accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices for the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).


About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Aman (she/her) is a scientific writer at labroots and an astrophysics researcher at Penn State University. She works in the field of high-energy astrophysics such as black holes, gamma-rays, etc., and collects data from various space telescopes to conduct her research. She received her doctorate from Clemson University in Physics. On a personal note, she loves spending time out in nature; camping or hiking. If given a choice, she will decorate her house only with plants, did she say she likes plants? :D
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