Our Galaxy’s Black Hole Has A Jet




For a long time astronomers have been looking for signs of a jet eminating from the black hole (Sgr A*) known to reside at the core of our galaxy. There have been clues, and hints, but nothing definitive, till now. We have seen jets from other galaxies, and some from stars, so we knew we could have one ourselves, but lacked good solid evidence. The evidence is in.

At first I was a little skeptical (let it be known I am not a professional), after all there are a lot of things in that photo that could resemble a jetlike stream. But, the spectral information is in line with similar jets in other galaxies, and there is “straight line of X-ray emitting gas that points toward Sgr A* and a shock front” present, where they believe the the jet has interacted with gas and dust in the region. With multiple lines of evidence converging, I have to think they may have something here. Plus, the direction of the jet lines up in parallel with the rotation of our galaxy, which is not exactly a dead certainty for the jets existence, there are other explanations why that might not be the case, but it makes for a more orderly expectation for what I would like to see in a rotating system. (Of course what I’d like to see and reality need not always jive)

As an amateur with amateur equipment, I have gazed many times in the direction of our galactic core. There are a lot of really interesting objects to observe in that area of the sky. There is no way my meager equipment can see this deep or bring out this kind of detail, but it sure is cool that we have instruments that can, and I am positive many more exciting discoveries await in our near future. It is a great time for discovery, and a great time to be here to see it unfold.