Jets shooting from a small black hole pack extra power.
New observations show that the jets of black hole 4U 1630-47, in the direction of the constellation Norma, carry massive particles, such as iron and nickel atoms, instead of the typical low-mass particles such as electrons. The fast-moving, heavy-particle jets, which move at two-thirds the speed of light, have more power than spurts of only low-mass particles, astronomers report November 14 in Nature.
Though 4U 1630-47 is only three to 10 times more massive than the sun, the object’s relatively typical features suggest that supermassive black holes may also shoot jets with massive particles.
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Astronomers are interested in objects’ jets, especially those of supermassive black holes, because the particle spurt can shape when and where galaxies form stars.