News of the WeekAstrophysics

Black Hole Blazes Away Without a Fuel Supply

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Science  09 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5545, pp. 1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5545.1263a

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The massive jets of supermassive black holes--plumes of gas and dust that extend for thousands of light-years from the centers of some galaxies--require considerable reserves of firepower. The most likely source is the giant doughnut-shaped cloud of gas and dust thought to surround such black holes. But scientists have now found that the black hole at the center of a nearby galaxy called M87 somehow maintains its jets without this vast stockpile of fuel. The apparent paradox has theorists baffled.