Source of blazars’ super brightness comes into focus | Science News

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Source of blazars’ super brightness comes into focus

Jets of high-energy radiation come from near galaxies’ central black hole

By
12:30pm, July 14, 2015
blazar

JET SET  An active galaxy called a blazar, illustrated here, emits a jet of high-energy particles toward Earth. 

Blazar
\BLEHY-zahr\ n.

An unusually luminous galaxy that fires off a jet of high-energy matter and radiation toward Earth.

Blazars have been spotted throughout the sky, but researchers don’t know how these jets form. Scientists suspect that gas piles up near a galaxy’s central black hole, where it heats up and gets flung away at nearly the speed of light. Astronomers are studying the blazar PKS 1830-211. Although it is about 11 billion light-years away, the gravity of at least one nearer galaxy acts as a lens, enabling scientists to examine the distant blazar’s energetic outbursts.

The source of high-energy gamma rays from PKS 1830-211 is a confined area about the size of the solar system, University of Geneva astrophysicist Andrii Neronov and colleagues report July 6 in Nature Physics. The finding confirms that whatever is driving blazar jets operates right near the central black

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