Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spectacular X-Ray Jet Points Toward Cosmic Energy Booster

Date:
June 7, 2000
Source:
Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center
Summary:
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed a spectacular luminous spike of X rays that emanates from the vicinity of a giant black hole in the center of the radio galaxy Pictor A. The spike, or jet, is due to a beam of particles that streaks across hundreds of thousands of light years of intergalactic space toward a brilliant X-ray hot spot that marks its end point.

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed a spectacular luminous spike of X rays that emanates from the vicinity of a giant black hole in the center of the radio galaxy Pictor A. The spike, or jet, is due to a beam of particles that streaks across hundreds of thousands of light years of intergalactic space toward a brilliant X-ray hot spot that marks its end point.

Related Articles


The hot spot is at least 800 thousand light years (8 times the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy) away from where the jet originates. It is thought to represent the advancing head of the jet, which brightens conspicuously where it plows into the tenuous gas of intergalactic space. The jet, powered by the giant black hole, originates from a region of space no bigger than the solar system.

"Both the brightness and the spectrum of the X rays are very different from what theory predicts," Professor Andrew Wilson reported today at the 196th national meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Rochester, New York. Wilson, of the University of Maryland, College Park, along with Dr. Patrick Shopbell and Dr. Andrew Young, also of the University of Maryland, are submitting an article on this research to the Astrophysical Journal. "The Chandra observations are telling us that something out there is producing many more high energy particles than we expected," said Wilson.

One possible explanation for the X rays is that shock waves along the side and head of the X-ray jet are accelerating electrons and possibly protons to speeds close to that of light. In the process the electrons are boosted to energies as high as 100 million times their own rest mass energy. These electrons lose their energy rapidly as they produce X rays, so this could be the first direct evidence of this process so far outside a galaxy.

The hot spot has been seen with optical and radio telescopes. Radio telescopes have also observed a faint jet. Jets are thought to be produced by the extreme electromagnetic forces created by magnetized gas swirling toward a black hole. Although most of the material falls into the black hole, some can be ejected at extremely high speeds. Magnetic fields spun out by these forces can extend over vast distances and may help explain the narrowness of the jet.

The Chandra observation of Pictor A was made on January 18, 2000 for eight hours using the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS).

The ACIS instrument was built for NASA by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and Pennsylvania State University, University Park. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program. TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, Calif., is the prime contractor for the spacecraft. The Smithsonian's Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

Images associated with this release are available on the World Wide Web at:

http://chandra.harvard.edu

AND

http://chandra.nasa.gov


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center. "Spectacular X-Ray Jet Points Toward Cosmic Energy Booster." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000607073650.htm>.
Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center. (2000, June 7). Spectacular X-Ray Jet Points Toward Cosmic Energy Booster. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000607073650.htm
Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center. "Spectacular X-Ray Jet Points Toward Cosmic Energy Booster." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/06/000607073650.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins