April 13, 2024

Why are some jets from supermassive black holes so short? Astronomers may have solved the case

A new investigation into a rare and short-lived type of galaxy has revealed that such objects harbor dormant supermassive black holes that briefly awaken to destroy a massive star and devour its remains like a giant cosmic breakfast.

“Compact Symmetrical Objects”, or CSOs, are active galaxies that have two jets coming out of them at nearly the speed of light. These jets are common to active galactic nuclei (AGN), which have supermassive black holes that feed on the surrounding gas and dust at their hearts — but the jets of CSOs are different.

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