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Supermassive Black Hole Emitting High-Energy Jets Captured in 'Unprecedented Detail'

CC0 / / Black hole
Black hole  - Sputnik International
The images were taken by the Event Horizon Telescope aimed at capturing and exploring the environment around black holes by using innovative technology to link radio dishes across the Earth to create a planet-sized interferometer.

Researchers from Boston University captured a detailed image of a jet of plasma powered by a supermassive black hole. The image was taken by the Event Horizon Telescope from a distance of over 5bn lightyears, from the M87 radio galaxy. 

​The enormous plasma jets are a part of a structure known as a 'blazar'. Such structures are formed from supermassive black holes named quasars, which wind magnetic fields as they spin at speeds approaching half the speed of light, resulting in high-energy jets that contain the material surrounding the black hole

"A lot of that matter [around the black hole] is fated just to cross the event horizon and never return, but some of it can be launched along those powerful magnetic field lines which thread the black hole, and that is what the jet is," said Dr Ziri Younsi of University College London, a co-author of the study, according to the Guardian.

The high resolution of the images has allowed researchers to explore the base of the jet for the first time, the team noted.

"Black holes don’t just swallow up a lot of matter, they spit a lot of it out too because they are highly magnetised and spinning so rapidly," Dr Younsi said, cited by the Guardian.

Many questions remain, Younsi added, including what exactly the plasma of the jet is composed of, and exactly how the jet couples with the black hole. 

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