Earlier this month, our species feasted its eyes on the first-ever image of a black hole’s event horizon.
Now it turns out the dark monster is blasting a super-powerful ‘jet’ in our direction.
Nasa has now published another image showing the whole galaxy in infrared light.
It shows two jets, one of which is pointed at our planet.
‘The brighter jet, located to the right of the galaxy’s centre, is travelling almost directly toward Earth. Its brightness is amplified due to its high speed in our direction, but even more so because of what scientists call “relativistic effects,” which arise because the material in the jet is travelling near the speed of light,’ Nasa wrote.
‘The jet’s trajectory is just slightly offset from our line of sight with respect to the galaxy, so we can still see some of the length of the jet. The shockwave begins around the point where the jet appears to curve down, highlighting the regions where the fast-moving particles are colliding with gas in the galaxy and slowing down.’
It’s not clear what causes the jets, although it’s believed they are produced as gas is sucked into the hole’s greedy maw.
‘Scientists are still striving for a solid theoretical understanding of how gas being pulled into black holes creates outflowing jets,’ Nasa added.
We’re glad to report that the galactic gobbler is 55 million light years away, which means the beam poses no threat to Earth.