Astronomers have encountered two large, mysterious objects oozing from the brightest black hole in the universe (3C 273). 3C 273 was first discovered in 1959 in the form of a quasar during a survey of cosmic radio sources.
Black holes themselves don’t actually emit light, but the larger ones are surrounded by giant vortices of gas called accretion disks. When the gas falls into the black hole at near the speed of light, friction heats the disk, irradiating it with radiation detected as radio waves.
Quasar 3C 273, the first ever confirmed, is more than 4 trillion times brighter than Earth’s Sun and is more than 2.4 billion light years away.
Scientists have extensively studied the burning black home nucleus, but the enormous brightness emanating from quasars has made it almost impossible to study the galaxy that hosts it.
However, researchers calibrated the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile to separate the quasar’s brightness from the light emitted by the host galaxy.
After calibration, only radio waves emitted from the quasar galaxy remained, showing two giant radio structures never seen before.
One of them looks like a giant beam of radio light that covers the entire galaxy and extends tens of thousands of light years to the southwest. This radio fog covers the second structure. This is a gigantic jet of energy called the astrophysical jet, which also stretches for tens of thousands of light years.
Scientists do not know how or why astrophysical jets form. However, they are known to exist around quasars and other supermassive black holes, and to exist after the interaction between the black hole and its accretion disk. , traveling at a speed close to the speed of light.
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