19:29 GMT17 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    Discovered in 1912 by Austrian-American astrophysicist Victor Hess, cosmic rays, which move at nearly the speed of light, have long baffled scientists, who are still unable to say with certainty where they originate from. The most popular candidates are supernovae, quasars, active galactic nuclei, and gamma-ray bursts.

    In 2019, an international team of scientists managed to capture the first-ever image of a black hole (M87) in the Messier galaxy, 54 million light-years away from Earth. In their recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal on 14 July, the team assembled a new image of the black hole, which researchers say may unravel the mystery of the origin of cosmic rays.

    The series of new images of the M87 show the black hole shooting jets that produce light at every wavelength – from radio waves to powerful gamma rays.

    ​These jets produce an enormous amount of energy, which no known human technology, including the Large Hadron Collider, is capable of. The jets produced by M87 and other black holes are similar to ultra powerful cosmic rays.

    "One of the primary questions we're trying to investigate is where are the high-energy particles coming from. How are these jets launched, what's inside of them, and how are high-energy cosmic rays - which seem to be coming from black hole jets – accelerated?", said Sera Markoff of the University of Amsterdam.

    The new image will also enable scientists to learn more about M87 – how fast it spins and its orientation, how it evolved over the years, and whether it gained its mass by colliding with black holes or devoured surrounding matter.


    Remains of Long-Extinct Alien World May Rest Beneath Earth's Surface, Scientists Say
    Elusive Intermediate-Mass Black Hole Spotted Thanks to Ancient Explosion in Space
    Large Hadron Collider, cosmic rays, black hole
    Community standardsDiscussion