Black Holes’ Jets
Black holes represent the extremes of gravity and density. These compact objects come in a wide range of masses: Stellar-mass black holes weigh in at a few to tens of times that of the Sun, while supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies hold millions to billions of solar masses. The chaotic environment around black holes, including disks of hot gas and entwined magnetic fields, can launch beams of particles moving near light-speed perpendicular to the disk called relativistic jets. These jets also emit the deadly highest-energy radiation of gamma-ray bursts. Although astronomers don’t know exactly what process makes and powers these beams, research shows that the jets distribute an amount of energy into their nearby environments proportional to the black hole’s mass.