Scientists observe a long, curving jet coming from a quasar across the universe

Artist’s impression of a quasar with the supermassive black hole center and its ray of electromagnetic radiation.
illustration: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI)

The Event Horizon Telescope that brought this to us very first Image of a black hole And the first glimpse of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxyhas inspected a much lighter one Goal: a Quasar. Quasars are extremely luminous objects powered by matter spiraling into giant black holes. These active galactic nuclei, as they are called, selectromagnetic radiation out into space – and the EHT The team may have just peeked into one.

A global collaboration of scientists studied NRAO 530, a quasar some 7.5 billion light-years away. which the team says is the most distant object to date taken with the Event Horizon Telescope. Using the telescope array, the researchers, led by Svetlana Jorstad of Boston University’s Institute of Astrophysical Research, observed some features of the quasar. SpecialShe imaged a beam of radio wavelength radiation that spans 1.7 light years.

The research team also observed the core of the quasar, where the jet begins, and two mysterious structures in the core that scientists couldn’t see correct with the current capabilities of the telescope. The jet also exhibits a magnetic field that likely has a spiral pattern, or some sort of curvature, according to the team’s measurements of the light emitted by the jet.

“The outermost feature has a particularly high degree of linear polarization, indicating a very well-ordered magnetic field,” he said Jorstad in an opinion.

One of the key methods Jorstad and the research team used to image the quasar is called Very Long Baseline Interferometry, or VLBI. telescopes common all over the planet in a row, like the ones that make the Event Horizon Telescope, can capture all radio signals from the same astronomical source. Astronomers using a VLBI methodology can then collect these different data points and account for any difference in detection time (data from one source might be collected at one telescope just before its collection at another telescope) to create a detailed one image of the target.

Astrophysicists are learning more about quasars thanks to new observing technologies like EHT and the recently launched Webb Space Telescope. Pictures of Webb released last fall revealed a polychrome quasar whose galaxy interacts with three others in a galactic “node”. And back in 2020, the The Hubble Space Telescope observed quasar ‘tsunamis’ which researchers believe may be strong enough to halt galaxy formation.

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