A telescope larger than Earth has discovered a plasma rope in space.
Astronomers used a network of radio telescopes on Earth and in space to capture the most detailed view of a jet plane to date. plasma Shooting from supermassive mass Black Hole At the center of a distant galaxy.
This jet, which comes from the center of a distant blazar called 3C 279, travels at nearly the speed of light and exhibits a complex twisted pattern near its source. These patterns call into question the standard theory that has been used for 40 years to explain how jets form and change over time.
This major contribution to observations was made possible by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. There, data from all participating telescopes was combined to create a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of approximately 100,000 kilometers.
Their discovery recently natural astronomy.
Insights about the Blazer
Blazers are the brightest and most powerful sources of electromagnetic radiation in the universe. These are a subclass of active galactic nuclei, consisting of galaxies with a central core. supermassive black hole Material accreted from the surrounding disk. About 10% of active galactic nuclei are quasar, producing a relativistic plasma jet. Bazaar is part of a small fraction of quasars in which these jets can be seen pointing almost directly at observers.
Recently, a team of researchers, including scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, imaged the innermost region of Blaser 3C 279’s jet with unprecedented angular resolution, showing surprising order. A spiral filament was detected. Theoretical models that have been used to date to explain the process by which jets are produced in active galaxies require revisions.
“Thanks to Radio Astron, a space mission that will take orbiting radio telescopes all the way to the moon, and a network of 23 radio telescopes distributed around the planet, we have obtained the highest resolution images of the interior of outer space. “For the first time ever, we have been able to observe the inner workings of a jet plane in such detail with a BLAZER,” said the researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) in Granada, Spain. said Antonio Fuentes, who led the study.
Theoretical implications and challenges
A new window on the universe opened by the RadioAstron mission has revealed new details about the plasma jet of 3C 279, a blazar with a supermassive black hole at its center. This jet has at least two twisted filaments of plasma that extend over 570 light-years from the center.
“This is the first time we have observed a filament so close to the jet’s source, and it tells us more about how black holes form plasma.” “It was also observed at much shorter wavelengths (3.5 mm and 1.3 mm) by researchers, but it was too faint and too large for this resolution to detect the filament-like shape,” said a member of the research team. , says Eduardo Ross, GMVA’s European scheduler. “This shows how different telescopes can reveal different features of the same object,” he added.
The jet of plasma coming from the blazer is not actually straight and uniform. These show the twists and turns of how the plasma is affected by the forces surrounding the black hole. Astronomers studied these twists in his 3C279, called helical filaments, and discovered that they are caused by instabilities that occur within the jet plasma. Along the way, they also realized that the old theories they were using to explain how jets change over time no longer worked. New theoretical models are therefore needed that can explain how such helical filaments form and evolve so close to the jet’s origin. This is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity to learn more about these amazing cosmic phenomena.
“One particularly interesting aspect arising from our results is that they suggest the existence of a helical magnetic field that confines the jet,” says Guang-Yao, now at MPIfR and a member of the team of scientists. Zhao said. “Thus, the magnetic field rotating clockwise around the jet in 3C 279 may direct and guide the jet’s plasma, which travels at 0.997 times the speed of light.”
“Similar helical filaments have been observed in extragalactic jets before, but on a much larger scale and in different parts of the flow,” said Andrei Lobanov, another MPIfR scientist on the research team. They are believed to have been created by moving at high speeds and shearing each other.” . “With this work, we are entering a whole new realm where these filaments can actually connect to the most complex processes in the immediate vicinity of the jet-producing black hole.”
The study of 3C279’s internal jet, published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy, extends ongoing efforts to better understand the role of magnetic fields in the initial formation of relativistic outflows from active galactic nuclei. . It highlights the many challenges that remain in current theoretical modeling of these processes, and further improvements in radio astronomy instruments and techniques provide a unique opportunity to image distant cosmic objects with record angular resolution. proves the need for
Technology advancement and collaboration
By combining and correlating data from different radio observatories using a special technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), a virtual telescope with an effective diameter equal to the maximum spacing between the antennas involved in the observations is created. It will be created. Scientist Yuri Kovalev of his RadioAstron project, currently at MPIfR, emphasizes the importance of healthy international cooperation to achieve such results. Month. “
Anton Zensas, director of MPIfR and one of the driving forces behind the RadioAstron mission over the past 20 years, said: and scientists from many countries. The mission required decades of collaborative planning before the satellite’s launch. The creation of the actual images was made possible by connecting large ground-based telescopes such as Eiffelsberg and carefully analyzing the data at his VLBI correlation center in Bonn. ”
Reference: “Filament structure as the origin of radio fluctuations in blazer jets” Antonio Fuentes, Jose L. Gomez, Jose M. Martí, Manel Perucho, Guan Yao Zhao, Rocco Rico, Andrei P. Lobanov, Gabriele Bruni, Yuri Y. Kovalev, Andrew Chael, Kazunori Akiyama, Catherine L. Bauman, Hee Sun, Ilje Cho, Eftalia Traianou, Teresa Toscano, Rohan Dakhare, Marianna Foski, Leonid.・I. Gurwitz, Svetlana Jorstad, Jaeyoung Kim, Alan P. Marsher, Josuke Mizuno, Eduard Roth, Tuomas Savolainen, October 26, 2023, natural astronomy.
The Earth-to-Space Interferometer RadioAstron mission ran from July 2011 to May 2019 and included a 10-meter orbiting radio telescope (Spektr-R) and approximately 20 of the world’s largest ground-based radio telescopes, including: It was made up of a collection of. 100 meter Effelsberg radio telescope. When the signals of the individual telescopes were combined using radio interference, this series of telescopes achieved maximum angular resolution equivalent to a radio telescope 350,000 km in diameter (approximately the distance between the Earth and the Moon) . This makes RadioAstron the instrument with the highest angular resolution in astronomy history. The RadioAstron project was led by the Astrospace Center of the Lebedev Institute of Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association in cooperation with partner organizations from Russia and other countries, under a contract with the State Space Corporation ROSCOSMOS. Astronomical data from this mission has been analyzed by individual scientists around the world, yielding results like those presented here.
The collaborators on the published work are affiliated with MPIfR in the order listed in the author list: Guang-Yao Zhao, Andrei P. Lobanov, Yuri Y. Kovalev, Efthalia (Thalia) Traianou, Jae-Young Kim , Eduardo Ros, and Tuomas Savolainen. Collaborators Roccolico and Gabriele Bruni were also attached to his MPIfR during the RadioAstron mission.
Yuri Y. Kovalev acknowledges the recipient of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.