Science and Nature

Astronomers discover longest jet of particles coming from black hole in ancient universe

Astronomers discover longest jet of particles coming from black hole in ancient universe thumbnail

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: March 11, 2021 7:11:37 pm

This is longest jet of particles ever recorded (Image: NASA)

Using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Chandra Observatory, astronomers have discovered never seen before, a long jet of particles coming from a supermassive black hole in the early universe. The gigantic jet of particles originated from a galaxy 12.7 billion light-years away from our planet. The light detected from this jet was emitted at a very early age of the universe when it was 0.98 billion years old, almost one-tenth of its age now.

The source of the jet is a quasar, which is powered by a supermassive black hole named PJ352-15. The quasar sits at the centre of the galaxy and is one of the two most powerful quasars as per the radio waves detected in the first billion years after the big bang event. Its size is also estimated to be a billion times more massive than our Sun.

In order to collect evidence of the X-Ray jet, astronomers had to observe PJ352-15 for three days using Chandra. When detected, it was approximately 1,60,000 light-years away from its origin in the same direction. To understand the distance covered, the Milky Way galaxy housing our solar system spreads almost 100,000 light-years.

What makes this discovery more important is that the first jet of particles recorded by astronomers was 5,000 light-years in length making this an astronomical record by a huge margin.

“The length of this jet is significant because it means that the supermassive black hole powering it has been growing for a considerable period of time,” co-author of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany, Eduardo Bañados said. “This result underscores how X-ray studies of distant quasars provide a critical way to study the growth of the most distant supermassive black holes.”

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