A telescope larger than the Earth has found a plasma rope in the Universe.
Using a network of radio telescopes on Earth and in space, astronomers have captured the most detailed view ever of a jet of The jet, which comes from the heart of a distant blazar called 3C 279, travels at nearly the speed of light and shows complex, twisted patterns near its source. These patterns challenge the standard theory that has been used for 40 years to explain how these jets form and change over time.
A major contribution to the observations was made possible by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, where the data from all participating telescopes were combined to create a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of about 100,000 kilometers.
Their findings were recently published in Nature Astronomy.
Insights into Blazars
Blazars are the brightest and most powerful sources of electromagnetic radiation in the cosmos. They are a subclass of active galactic nuclei comprising galaxies with a central supermassive black hole accreting matter from a surrounding disk. About 10% of active galactic nuclei, classified as quasars, produce relativistic plasma jets. Bazars belong to a small fraction of quasars in which we can see these jets pointing almost directly at the observer.
Recently, a team of researchers including scientists from the Max Planck…