Black Hole Jets

Researchers have observed the inner parts of a black hole’s active jets for the first time, suggesting “that the energetic spouts are more dynamic than previously suspected, with enormous blasts firing off randomly over timescales as short as 11 seconds.”

The black hole was observed by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft and is located 20,000 light-years away near the center of the galaxy.

From the Wired article:

Researchers were able to determine that the jets are emitted from an area approximately 15,000 miles across, though the size of this region sometimes rapidly increased by an order of magnitude or more. They were also able to make detailed measurements of the black hole’s magnetic field, which is 30,000 times more powerful than the Earth’s. Since the magnetic field is thought to be, in part, responsible for the powerful jets, this data could help astronomers understand the inner workings of these exotic phenomenon.

(via Black Hole Jets Gone Wild | Wired Science | Wired.com.)