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University of Arizona researchers in Event Horizon Telescope found the black hole of Centaurus A galaxy

Alistair Dominguez
Jacob Granneman

PHOENIX, AZ—The University of Arizona or UA researchers that are engaged in the Event Horizon Telescope or EHT Collaboration, have recently captured another black hole image of the Centaurus A galaxy.

Centaurus A is a galaxy located more than 13 million light-years away and glows at radio wavelengths—the longest among all light wavelengths. The team's observations found a big glowing jet of gas and dust spit out by the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. The jet releases light from its outer edges only, creating another question for models of jets theory.

The jet itself is one of the most mysterious and powerful features of every galaxy that is made of gas and dust, particles that escape the gravitational pull of a black hole.

"This is the first time that the base of astrophysical jets is imaged at this resolution," said EHT collaborator Chi-kwan Chan, an associate research professor in UA's Steward Observatory from the data analysis team. "We were surprised to find that the structure is narrow, with emission radiating only from its outermost edges."

The study was led by Michael Janssen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, and Radbound University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. The data of the research can be accessed publicly in CyVerse, the National Science Foundation's first data management platform led by UA.

"EHT does not capture a picture directly. Instead, it records petabytes of radio waveform data from many radio telescopes around the world, which is then used to reconstruct the final picture," said the co-author and UA professor of astronomy Dan Marrone.

Centaurus A is one of the largest and brightest objects in the night sky if it is observed by the radio wavelengths. It is the galaxy found as the first known radio source outside the Milky Way in 1949. Centaurus A has a supermassive black hole equivalent to the mass of 55 million suns. For comparison, our galaxy's black hole is equivalent to the mass of 4 million suns.

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