L. CALCADA / EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY L. CALCADA / EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Galactic supermassive black hole. Illustration of the surroundings of a supermassive black hole, typical of that found at the heart of many galaxies. The black hole itself is surrounded by an accretion disc of very hot, in-falling material, while further out is a dusty torus. There are also often high-speed jets of material ejected at the black hole's poles that can extend huge distances into space. Observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile have detected a very strong magnetic field close to the black hole at the base of the jets. This is probably involved in jet production and collimation (narrowing the beam produced). Illustration published in 2015.
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