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Jet from a Quasar
Credit: Aneta Siemiginowska, et al., 2003, The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 589, pg. L15


Prehistoric Jet

Black holes at the centers of galaxies are voracious. They swallow matter in their neighborhood, and produce extreme amounts of radiation and, often, powerful jets of high energy particles stretching vast distances. But how does this supermassive black hole activity evolve with time? To help answer this question, recently the Chandra X-ray Observatory imaged what is apparently an X-ray jet emitted from the central supermassive black hole in a distant active galaxy, a quasar known as GB 1508+5714. The negative grayscale image above shows the Chandra X-ray image of the quasar at the center of the image, with an extension of X-ray emission stretching from the quasar to the lower right. This extension is the X-ray jet from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy. This galaxy is so far away that it takes light about 13 billion years to reach earth and thus this particular jet existed when the Universe itself was extremely young.


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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!


Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:11:22 EDT