News of the WeekAstronomy

Probing the Milky Way's Black Heart

Science  09 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5387, pp. 211-212
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5387.211a

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At the very center of our galaxy lies an invisible black hole; just outside it, electrons torn from matter falling into the black hole gyrate around magnetic field lines, broadcasting radio waves. By mapping this radio emission with the Very Long Baseline Array, a system of linked telescopes that spans North America, a group of astronomers has found that the emitting region is drastically elongated, suggesting that the black hole is somehow shooting jets of material out of the plane of the galaxy.