Using the Chandra Observatory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), astronomers have discovered, never before seen, a long jet of particles coming from a supermassive black hole in the early universe. The gigantic jet of particles originated in a galaxy 12.7 billion light years from our planet. The light detected from this jet was emitted at a very early age in the universe when it was 0.98 billion years old, almost a tenth of its current age.
The source of the jet is a quasar, which is powered by a supermassive black hole called PJ352-15. The quasar is located in the center of the galaxy and is one of the two most powerful quasars according to radio waves detected in the first billion years after the Big Bang. Its size is also estimated to be one billion times more massive than our Sun.
To collect evidence from the X-ray jet, astronomers had to observe PJ352-15 for three days using Chandra. When detected, it was approximately 160,000 light-years away from its origin in the same direction. To understand the distance traveled, the Milky Way galaxy that is home to our solar system stretches almost 100,000 light years.
What makes this discovery all the more important is that the first particle jet recorded by astronomers was 5,000 light-years long, making it an astronomical record by a large margin.
“The length of this jet is significant because it means that the supermassive black hole that powers it has been growing for a considerable period of time,” said co-author Eduardo Bañados from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) in Heidelberg, Germany. . “This result underscores how distant quasar X-ray studies provide a critical way to study the growth of more distant supermassive black holes.”