NASA has published a photo previously captured by its Chandra X-ray Observatory, featuring a distant galaxy's massive black hole that is spewing high-energy particles in different directions. The cosmic structure featured in the photo, which NASA shared through Chandra's Instagram account, has been identified as the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as 4C+29.30. As noted by the agency, this galaxy is located about 850 million light-years from Earth's neighborhood.
Galaxy 4C+29.30's Central Black Hole
The black hole sitting at the center of the galaxy is about 100 million times more massive than the Sun. Through Chandra's X-ray imaging capabilities, NASA was able to observe the black hole and its high-energy emissions. According to the agency, the image shows two jets of particles heading in opposite directions. These jets are moving about a million miles per hour away from the central black hole.
Emitting Jet Particles
The bright spherical object seen in the photo is actually a pool of hot gas surrounding the black hole. Although some of the gas will be consumed by the black hole, the remaining whirlpool of gas could remain outside the cosmic object and fuel the jets of particles.
"The X-ray data show a different aspect of this galaxy, tracing the location of hot gas," NASA explained in a statement. "The bright X-rays in the center of the image mark a pool of million-degree gas around the black hole. Some of this material may eventually be consumed by the black hole, and the magnetized, whirlpool of gas near the black hole could, in turn, trigger more output to the radio jet."
Starving the Black Hole
As the jets travel away from the center of the black hole, they plow through cosmic materials of the surrounding galaxy. Sometimes, the energy of the jets heats up the clumps of materials as they go through them. In some cases, these materials get dragged by the jets away from the black hole. In both scenarios, the cosmic materials are drawn away from the central black hole, limiting its food supply.
"Both the heating and the dragging can limit the fuel supply for the supermassive black hole, leading to temporary starvation and stopping its growth," NASA stated.