Monster black hole's jet has 125B times more energy than sun


However, it's also well outside gobbling distance - more than 150 million light-years away.

Radio-telescope images of Tidal Disruption Event in Arp 299.

The rapid jet of particles is caused when a supermassive black hole rips apart a star that comes too close to its event horizon. This is known as a tidal disruption event and, although it is hypothesised to be a regular occurrence throughout the galaxy, little is known about what happens during these stellar deaths.

However, not all the star's particles which fall are devoured by the black hole, and about half of the mass of the star gets ejected at a speed that approaches the speed of light, forming what are known as "relativistic jets".

Astronomers first caught a sign about the ejection back in 2005, when astronomers detected a powerful blast of infrared light coming from the centre of a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299.

Their theory proved to be right after years of observations of the event in Hawaii, at the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) telescope.

Astronomical imaging is the process of collecting electromagnetic radiation using telescopes, and although it can involve photography in this instance it did not.

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In front of a unique spectacle, astronomers were found, seeing for the first time the huge explosion that was created when a black hole "swallowed" a star. A TDE was recently observed near the center of Arp299B.

"As time passed, the new object stayed bright at infrared and radio wavelengths, but not in visible light and X-rays", said Mattila.

Continued observations with the VLBA and other radio telescopes confirmed the presence of a source of radio emissions expanding in one direction, typical of a jet, just like scientists expected. The sudden injection of material produces a bright flash, followed by transient radio emissions and the formation of a jet of material that initially moves at speeds very close to that of light.

These observations used multiple radio-telescope antennas, separated by thousands of miles, to gain the resolving power, or ability to see fine detail, required to detect the expansion of an object so distant.

Virtually every galaxy has a supermassive black hole lurking at its center, which directly influences its development. Observing the curvature of space around them suggests that the typical mass of supermassive black holes is in the range of one million to several billion solar masses. These events, called tidal disruptions, pull material from the dead star and form a rotating disk around the black hole. This is the phenomenon seen in radio galaxies and quasars. They also said that such events could be the key to understanding the conditions in which galaxies developed millions of years ago since it is probable that these would have been common in the distant Universe.

The activity around the supermassive black hole came as a surprise to the scientists, who were originally looking for supernova explosions.