Surprising and Mysterious Spiral Jets From Giant Black Holes

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What are black whole jets? How do these mysterious features look like? The answer is mesmerizing and depicted in the picture below!

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Huge spiral and unexpected black hole outflow caught for the first time. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/NASA/ESA/F. Combes

Two international teams of astronomers have used the power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to focus on jets from the huge black holes at the centers of galaxies and observe how they affect their surroundings. They have respectively obtained the best view yet of the molecular gas around a nearby, quiet black hole and caught an unexpected glimpse of the base of a powerful jet close to a distant black hole.

There are supermassive black holes—with masses up to several billion solar masses—at the hearts of almost all galaxies in the Universe, including our own galaxy, the Milky Way. In the remote past, these bizarre objects were very active, swallowing enormous quantities of matter from their surroundings, shining with dazzling brilliance, and expelling tiny fractions of this matter through extremely powerful jets. In the current Universe, most supermassive black holes are much less active than they were in their youth, but the interplay between jets and their surroundings is still shaping galaxy evolution.

The discovery of this outflow, which is being dragged along by the jet from the central black hole, shows how such jets can stop star formation and regulate the growth of the central bulges of galaxies.

Here some more information about these two scientific papers (Astronomy & Astrophysics):

ALMA observations of feeding and feedback in nearby Seyfert galaxies: an AGN-driven outflow in NGC1433“, by F. Combes et al.

Probing the jet base of the blazar PKS 1830−211 from the chromatic variability of its lensed images: Serendipitous ALMA observations of a strong gamma-ray flare“, by I. Marti-Vidal et al.

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