February 28, 2024

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The supermassive black hole spits a jet of high energy towards Earth

The supermassive black hole spits a jet of high energy towards Earth

A NASA mission has observed a supermassive black hole that is directing its high-energy jet at Earth. Don’t panic yet. As frightening as this cosmic event is, it is located at a very safe distance of about 400 million light-years.

Actively feeding supermassive black holes, including the ones at hand, are surrounded by swirling disks of matter called accretion disks that gradually fuel them over time. Some of the material they do not ingest is then directed towards their poles, where it is subsequently detonated at near-light or relativistic speed. This creates very energetic and bright electromagnetic radiation. In some cases, like with NASA’s latest muse, that plane is pointed directly at Earth. These events are known as blazars.