Event Horizon Telescope captures image of a black hole's plasma jets


Posts: 2,402   +541
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Although capturing that image took massive amounts of data (it ate up 350TB of storage per day for a full week), the results were incredible. Now, the EHT is proving to be a worthy investment once again: scientists have managed to capture additional images of a black hole.

This time, though, we're getting a look at what shoots out of black holes: incredibly powerful jets of plasma. The jets seen above were captured using infrared imaging tech, and the phenomena is caused by a supermassive black hole "winding up" magnetic fields as they spin and absorb matter.

This spinning builds up a tremendous amount of energy, and some of the material sucked in by a black hole will inevitably be cast out as a result, leading to these jet formations. The brightest portion of the jet is located within the black hole, whereas the faded "tail" is aiming outward.

The supermassive black hole captured in the latest images (also known as a quasar) is located in a galaxy 5 billion light-years away. According to The Guardian, the quasar resides in the galaxy's Virgo constellation, and is shooting out two distinct jets of plasma, one of which aims toward the Earth (which has made it easier to observe) at an offset angle.

According to researchers, the jet is traveling at roughly 0.995 times the speed of light. However, a "projection effect" makes it appear to be moving even faster -- about 15 to 20 times faster than the speed of light. Scientists are still examining their images, and hope to use their findings to learn more about what black holes are composed of and how they grow.

It will probably be a while before they get any definitive answers, but images like this certainly move the scientific community in the right direction.

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Posts: 6   +6
"about 15 to 20 times faster than the speed of light" - what? Nobody can move faster than light.
How much blur from noise, movement of radio dishes, variation due to earth's atmosphere and space in general? It's radio not optical but they are using many dishes and then a lot of post-processing to get these results.

"The Event Horizon Telescope is a large telescope array consisting of a global network of radio telescopes. The EHT project combines data from several very-long-baseline interferometry stations around Earth with angular resolution sufficient to observe objects the size of a supermassive black hole's event horizon." Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Event_Horizon_Telescope

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 361   +292
"about 15 to 20 times faster than the speed of light" - what? Nobody can move faster than light.
0.995x the speed of light, projection effects make it appear 20x faster but of course the jets real speed is below the speed of light


Posts: 214   +159
1. Spill some red ink on a black paper!
2. Smear it!
3. Report it as a science breakthrough on black holes!
4. Profit (ie. get millions in funding)!

Nobody will be ever able to prove you've faked it and that you data contained more noise and more presumptions than actual measurements, because all you presented was a smear of.... something.


Posts: 383   +312
"about 15 to 20 times faster than the speed of light" - what? Nobody can move faster than light.
Of course some things can fly faster than the speed of light.....Captain Picard flew a few of them....;)

Uncle Al

Posts: 6,946   +5,227
"about 15 to 20 times faster than the speed of light" - what? Nobody can move faster than light.
Actually, if you recall awhile back, scientists were able to create several generations of "faster than the speed of light" light. Granted it was done in a lab and for only short periods of time but they did in fact do it. The whole purpose of their work was to create faster and faster fiber connections .....


Posts: 159   +94
"The quasar resides in the galaxy's Virgo constellation"? That hardly makes sense, since the photos don't resolve the individual stars in the galaxy, and so how would we know if there was, from some vantage point within that galaxy, a constellation that resembled Virgo in our skies.
That the galaxy could be located in the Virgo constellation in our skies, on the other hand, is eminently possible, and no doubt is what was meant, despite the garble in The Guardian.
It's sad to see this kind of severe error in a responsible and intelligently edited newspaper (yes, I know that it has a political view which may be controversial) unlike where one might expect it, I.e., the Express, which has asteroids about to destroy the earth coming in every two weeks or so.