This picture, created by an artist, shows the area near a supermassive black hole where jet of particles flow in spirals. Research suggests this pattern is due to twisted magnetic fields.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Marscher et al., Wolfgang Steffen, Cosmovision, NRAO/AUI/NSF
Catching a Glimpse of a Black Hole's Fury
News story originally written on April 23, 2008
With the help of some powerful telescopes, a team of scientists has been spying on a black hole. It is at the center of a galaxy 950 million light years away.
This is not just any black hole. This is a supermassive black hole. It is millions of times more massive than the Sun. Jets of charged particles flow from it.
How these charged particles work has been a mystery. To learn more about them, the team of scientists looked at an outburst of charged particles from a supermassive black hole with telescopes.
They found that the enormous jets of particles form coiling patterns. The scientists believe the coiling is because the particles flow through twisted magnetic fields that are close to the black hole.
Last modified May 8, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core. The mantle is made up of many different reservoirs that have different chemical compositions. Scientists...more
Some faults look strong and like they wouldn’t cause an earthquake. But it turns out that they can slip and slide like weak faults causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults...more
The sun goes through cycles that last approximately 11 years. These solar cycle include phases with more magnetic activity, sunspots, and solar flares. They also include phases with less activity. The...more
Studying tree rings doesn't only tell us the age of that tree. Tree rings also show what climate was like while the tree was alive. This means that tree rings can tell us about climates of the past. Two...more
Earth's first life form may have developed between the layers of a chunk of mica sitting like a multilayered sandwich in primordial waters, according to a new hypothesis. The mica hypothesis, which was...more
Acid rain is what happens when some types of air pollution is washed out of the sky by rain. Power plants, factories, farms, houses, and cars all put pollution into the atmosphere. Sometimes, this pollution...more