The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way is leaking

The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way has been spiking in activity, creating jets leaking matter and energy.

@AdamHuntTT
Published Fri, Dec 10 2021 4:30 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Jan 4 2022 6:32 PM CST

Published in The Astrophysical Journal, new research shows that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy creates astrophysical jets after consuming a large mass.

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The black hole appears to have a vestigial jet dating back thousands of years. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has not captured an image of the jet but has helped find evidence suggesting it is propelling a vast hydrogen cloud.

Black holes attract material into their orbit, joining the accretion disk, though the strong magnetic fields cause some material to be captured by the out-flowing jets. These jets also spew out large amounts of ionizing radiation, and periodically the black hole will become more active and refill these jets.

Evidence for a southern jet near the black hole was detected in 2013 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Jansky Very Large Array telescope, and researchers considered the existence of a northern counter-jet.

The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way is leaking 02 | TweakTown.com

The researchers used Hubble to find a hot gas cloud at least 35 light-years away from the black hole that appeared to be inflated by a jet coming from the black hole. As the jet permeates these gas bubbles, the jet splits into multiple streams.

"The streams percolate out of the Milky Way's dense gas disk. The jet diverges from a pencil beam into tendrils, like that of an octopus," said co-author Alex Wagner of Tsukuba University in Japan.

The jets reach at least 50 light-years out from the black hole and produce expanding bubbles of gas that extend at least 500 light-years away. The bursts coming from the black hole are so powerful that a previous outburst from 2-4 million years ago that it created bubbles spanning 90,000 light-years called the Fermi-eROSITA bubbles.

You can read more from the study here.

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NEWS SOURCE:phys.org

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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