Discovery of a black hole jet more than a million light years long!

Observation in wavelengths other than the visible has enabled astronomy and astrophysics to make unprecedented discoveries. We have just obtained new evidence highlighting jets whose length exceeds a million light years and which are emitted by an elliptical galaxy close to the Local Group. These supermassive black hole jets are among the longest known.

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2021 is the year of Futura’s 20th anniversary! On this great occasion, we asked our sponsors to express themselves on the subject… Françoise Combes especially lent herself to the exercise and gives us her analysis as an astrophysicist on the past, but also on the next 20 years.

the ashtray (Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder) is a network of radio telescopeslocated in Western Australia at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory (MRO). It consists of several dozen identical parabolic antennas 12 meters wide, all of which work together according to the principle of aperture synthesis. There is a method to itinterferometry which makes it possible to artificially combine the observations of several telescopes to obtain the virtual equivalent of a very large instrument, for example the Earth or the Earth-Moon system as seen with respectivelyEvent Horizon Telescope and RadioAstron.

Askap served as a prototype for a much more ambitious project still underway in 2022, Square Kilometer Array (abbreviated SKA, in French “Network of one square kilometer”) which will correspond to a giant radio telescope of one square kilometer. Consisting of several interferometric networks in metric and centimetric wavelengths, it is installed at two sites in South Africa and Australia.

A presentation of SKA and ASKAP. For a fairly accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. The English subtitles should then appear. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then on “Subtitles” and finally on “Translate automatically”. Select “French”. © Dept. of industry, Science and resources

A jet of matter 50 times the size of its parent galaxy

A group of Australian radio astronomers from University of Western Sydney has just announced, in an article published by The conversation, which they and their colleagues had discovered using ASKAP among the longest supermassive black hole jets ever detected by instruments in the noosphere. They are associated with NGC 2663, a elliptical galaxy located in constellation Kompas only around 96 millionlight years of the Milky Way. She had been discovered byastronomer American Lewis Swift in 1886 and thereafter and even for decades thereafter, despite its proximity to Local group of galaxies (remember that The Local Group of Galaxies or, more simply, the local group is the group of more than 60 galaxies to which the Milky Way belongs, whose diameter is about 10 million light years), none of the means observation in it visible had not made it possible to highlight these jets.

The discovery is revealed with all the necessary scientific details in an open access article on arXiv where we learn it in addition to observations in the field radioobservations within X-rays with satellites as Chandra and Spektr-RG was used in the project Evolutionary map of the universe (EMU) by the team led by Velibor Velović, PhD student at University of Western Sydney.

NGC2663 is a typical elliptical galaxy about 10 times morestars that the Milky Way and the ray of fabric observed in the radio domain is 50 times larger than that, that is, over a length of more than a million light years, so if it could be seen in the visible ateye naked, given the proximity of this galaxy, it would appear larger than Moon on the firmament.

Roger Blandford tells us about supermassive black holes and their jets in this video. For a fairly accurate French translation, click on the white rectangle at the bottom right. The English subtitles should then appear. Then click on the nut to the right of the rectangle, then on “Subtitles” and finally on “Translate automatically”. Select “French”. © Quanta Magazine

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