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back to article Black hole spews out 2-million-light-year-long stream of WTF

Astronomers have spotted a supersonic cosmic jet blasting two million light years from the centre of a distant galaxy's supermassive black hole. Supermassive black hole The jet, which looks like the afterburner of a fighter plane, is moving at nearly the speed of light and its origins and composition are a mystery. A picture …

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Boffin

Largest things in the universe?

It depends on what you think is a single "thing," I suppose. Clusters of galaxies are larger than 2 million light years. Super-clusters are bigger still. These are organized in walls and filaments, and these in turn form the cosmic web. Quite a few people say the cosmic web is the largest thing.

Still an impressive jet.

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Goddamnit science

When are you going to give us some closure!?

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Alien

Re: Goddamnit science

I personally hope never!

I always want to be wandering about how the bloody hell X works

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Joke

Re: Goddamnit science

have never worked out my X's either

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Vic
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Re: Goddamnit science

> I personally hope never!

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

RIP, Douglas...

Vic.

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Joke

Clearly

I've never seen one before. No one has, but I'm guessing it's a white hole.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. A black hole sucks time and matter out of the Universe; a white hole returns it.

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Joke

Re: Clearly

So, what is it?!

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Boffin

Re: Clearly

I've never seen one before. No one has, but...

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Re: Clearly

Every late project should have a white hole on its desk, then.

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Joke

Re: Clearly

So, what is it?!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Clearly

Close to. In physics a black whole is a white hole. It looses energy through hawkins radiation (Spell?). However, sending out the large jets also redistributes matter and energy around the universe back into, then out of, galaxies.

No idea if this is in balance or massively one sided though. Could it all end up in the black hole before it all ends up spewed back out? :P

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Vic
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Re: Clearly

> In physics a black whole is a white hole.

You've not watched Red Dwarf, then?

> It looses energy through hawkins radiation

*loses*. *Hawking*.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Clearly

So what is it?

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Vic
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Re: Clearly

> So what is it?

Somebody punch him out...

Vic.

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Angel

Easy

"we still don't understand exactly how they are produced or what they're made of"..

They're all the missing single socks and bic-pen lids that God stole from us..

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Nnnnng

"around a hundred times bigger than the Milky Way"

*brain melts*

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Thumb Up

Re: Nnnnng

*brain melts*

It doesn't have to... this is a distance you can get your head around (sort of).

Assuming you're in the Northern hemisphere on a clear night, take a pair of binoculars (they don't even have to be very powerful) and point them in the direction of Cassiopeia. Find the larger of the 2 triangles that make up the big "W" and follow it down towards the constellation of Andromeda. You should come across a dim oval shaped smudge of light taking up a healthy chunk of your field of view. This is M31 - the Andromeda galaxy.

M31 is about 2.5 million light years away and is one of the furthest things you can see with the naked eye (though it's a lot easier with binos). All you have to do is visualise a bloody great jet of 'WTF' extending from you to M31 and presto! You've visualised something 2 million light years long.

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WTF?

Re: Nnnnng

The distance-to-Andromeda example melted my brain.

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Re: Nnnnng

"The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination" - D.N.A.

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Trollface

Re: Nnnnng

Bah 2 million light years is not all that far. At its current speed it would only take voyager 1, 37,508,472,896 years (or so) to go that far. At over twice the current age of the universe this is quite easy to comprehend :P

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Headmaster

Re: Nnnnng

They do. Just scale it down then back up. Milkyway? size of a Chocolate bar. Distance between here and Andromeda? About 18 chocolate bars. :D

Now, just scale up the chocolate bar to the size of our Galaxy. Your done. :)

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Headmaster

Re: Nnnnng

For a "pedantic grammar Nazi" (the icon you chose), YOU'RE pretty clueless about YOUR placement of apostrophes and the spelling of pronouns.

-- A real grammar Nazi.

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Black Helicopters

I for one welcome...

Perhaps it is merely the afterglow of our galactic neighbours who, years ago realised the danger and tyranny of black holes and are systematically destroying them all with massive weapons tech. Back to reading Culture novels...

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'kin huge Mach diamonds...

google them... some nice images

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Thumb Up

Re: 'kin huge Mach diamonds...

Mach diamonds are a boy's best friend.

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Coat

Re: 'kin huge Mach diamonds...

Should that not be macho diamonds?

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Anonymous Coward

Some people know

Regular astronomers may not know the origin and cause of jets, but plasma astrophysicists do, because they understand plasmas and how they produce particle beams, pinched filaments, cosmic Birkeland currents and astrophysical jets. The only thing what will accelerate charged particles away from a black hole is an electric field (magnetic fields make charged particles move in circles). The EM force is 10^40 times stronger than gravity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some people know

The only problem with your reasoning is that EM forces are so strong that they are very unlikely to subsist for all but very little, little time. For all we know, the bigger accumulation of whatever usually shorten its life.

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Facepalm

Re: Some people know

Not "plasma astrophysicists solves everything" again?

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Re: Some people know

I this about the electric universe nutters again? I mean im fine with a comprehensive theory, but what they say seems silly enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some people know

The post clearly referred to "plasma astrophysicists".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some people know

Electromagnetic (EM) forces are ubiquitous throughout the universe. 99.999% of the visible universe is plasma by mass and by volume. Plasma consists of charged particles which generate electromagnetic fields. The heliospheric current sheet is the largest structure in our Solar System, and is due to EM forces. The Solar Wind overcomes the Sun's gravity because of electromagnetic forces.

What other force can overcome the gravitation force of a black hole?

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The beading is probably from twisting in the jet...

If the picture image-sampling is simple, then the 'beading' probably comes from rotation of a non-tubular matter-jet. It would be VERY COOL if it was something else, though...

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Vic
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Joke

Re: The beading is probably from twisting in the jet...

> It would be VERY COOL if it was something else, though...

Given the amount of energy involved, I'd be more likely to believe that it is VERY HOT...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The beading is probably from twisting in the jet...

Ah, but if each particle is spaced very far apart, on average is is very cool. ;)

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Headmaster

Hmm

"Astronomers have spotted a supersonic cosmic jet blasting two million light years from the centre of a distant galaxy's supermassive black hole."

Really?...

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Holmes

Re: Hmm

Well since we all know that in space no-one can hear you scream, pretty much any moving thing is supersonic, no?

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Re: Hmm

Since "near-light-speed" is faster than the speed of sound in any medium that I can think of, I can accept the jet as being well and truly supersonic.

A rare bit of understatement for a Reg hack... Enjoy it when it happens!

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Linux

Re: Hmm

Supersonic relative to the intergalactic hydrogen gas, I would imagine.

So, yes, really.

No owl picture, so a penguin will have to do.

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Coat

Black hole spews out 2-million-light-year-long stream of WTF

Man, I gotta lay off the curry!

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Alien

Dumb question time from interested amateur......

Why is the jet non-linear? Every other image of a cosmic jet I have ever seen has been effectively a straight line.. this one appears to wriggle about as it moves outwards from the black hole.

Could it be that the jet is encountering massive resistance a it travels away from its parent causing the leading edge to slow down? I was thinking dark matter, but unless there is a vast amount of the crazy stuff in the immediate vacinity of this specific black hole then that explanation still doesn't satisy the question of why this jet is so different from othersthat have been visualised.

Of course I've just not looked at as many jet images as others around here :-)

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Alien

Re: Dumb question time from interested amateur......

..of course the other answer to my own question is that the source is wobbling around, which kind of implies spin on the black hole?

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Bronze badge

Re: Dumb question time from interested amateur......

They are not all straight lines. Some hit obstacles, some are from spinning holes. Etc.

You can see photos of these from telescopes/nasa/hubble.

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jets kind of destroy the theory of nothing can escape black holes, black holes are worm holes, black holes are a million other things

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Anonymous Coward

Who said they were escaping? Ever heard of the Voyager craft? They "zipped" past some planets to gain gravitational energy.

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"Black hole spews out 2-million-light-year-long stream of WTF"

"If the brighter patches are caused by the same process in astronomical jets as they are in earthly jet engines"

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Anonymous Coward

God also loves a lit fart

He just does them on a larger scale.

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Vic
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Re: God also loves a lit fart

...Well, it's that or arm-wrestle with Chugs...

Vic.

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Alien

As above, so below

I bet if you could get close enough you'd spot someone driving this thing with the windows down and radio on.

"He's got all of bloody infinity to play with, but he has to keep racing up and down outside our universe"

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