"Black Hole Messier 87" by Event Horizon Telescope / CC BY 3.0

Black Hole Seen Blasting Out Jets at Close to the Speed of Light

Jun 2, 2020

By Evan Gough

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory has spotted a distant black hole shooting out jets of material, at close to the speed of light. No worries, this beast is about 10,000 light years away from us. It’s more of a spectacle than a danger.

But it’s a spectacle laden with scientific insights.

I know what you might be thinking. Some version of “I thought nothing could escape a black hole?” You’re right, nothing can. But this material isn’t actually coming out of the black hole. It’s coming from the material circling around the black hole and being heated by that motion.

These jets of material are called astrophysical jets, or relativistic jets. They’re emitted by swirling disks of material called accretion disks. These disks can be around things like pulsars and neutron stars, or as in this case, around a black hole.

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