Astronomers zoom in on a supermassive black hole’s jets

Rather, “this might indicate that a minimum of the external part of the jet is released from the [much larger] accretion disk surrounding the black hole,” stated Tuomas Savolainen of Aalto University in Finland, and leader of the RadioAstron observing the program that produced the images.

These images benefited from a method called long standard interferometry, or VLBI. This method links a number of radio telescopes together to observe with a “virtual” dish as big as the range in between the telescopes. In this case, the group connected Earth-based radio telescopes with a Russian 10-meter (33 feet) radio telescope orbiting Earth as part of the RadioAstron task, producing a virtual radio telescope with a size of over 200,000 miles (350,000 km), almost the range in between Earth and the Moon. The bigger the radio telescope, the more excellent information it can see, which enabled astronomers to focus on the area around NGC 1275’s black hole to search for ideas about how and where the jet is created. Their resulting images are 10 times much better than anything formerly attained utilising ground-based radio telescopes alone. This very same method is the one made use of by the Event Horizon Telescope in 2015 to image the shadow of a tremendous supermassive void on its accretion disk; astronomers are excitedly waiting for the outcomes, which must be revealed later on this year.

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However while these observations do not fit together precisely with expectations, “Our outcome does not yet falsify the present designs where the jets are released from the ergosphere. However it ideally provides the theorist’s insight about the jet structure near the launching site and ideas ways to establish the designs,” stated Savolainen.

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