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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Nov 21, 2013

New evidence for jet from Milky Way’s black hole

The evidence comes in the form of high-energy particles blasting out of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

This composite image features both X-rays from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) and radio data from NSF's Very Large Array (blue).  You can see the position of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and the suspected jet.  Image via Chandra.

This composite image features both X-rays from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) and radio data from the Very Large Array (blue). You can see the position of Sagittarius A* – believed to mark the location of our galaxy’s supermassive black hole – and its suspected jet. Image via Chandra.

NASA says the best case yet has been made for a jet from our Milky Way galaxy’s central, supermassive black hole. The evidence comes in the form of high-energy particles seen in the image above to be blasting out of the hole.

Astronomers combined X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio emission from the NSF’s Very Large Array (VLA) to create the composite image above. This image reveals the position of the suspected jet and Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short; pronounced Sagittarius A-star).

Sgr A* is believed to be the location of a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

The location of a shock front is also marked. As the jet blasts from Sgr A*, it travels through space until it hits gas several light years away. Once the jet hits, it triggers the shock front’s formation.

It’s now generally accepted by astronomers that most spiral and elliptical galaxies have supermassive black holes in their cores, as our spiral Milky Way galaxy does.

Read more about this image from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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