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Russian astronomers unraveled the nature of plasma jets from black holes

An international research team with the participation of scientists from Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, and Lomonosov Moscow State University has obtained an unprecedentedly precise image of the process of formation of a plasma jet in the neighborhood of a black hole. The structure of the jet has been resolved at such level which astronomers had never achieved before. The new data mean that the theoreticians must reconsider their views about the formation of jets. The respective article has been published in the Nature Astronomy.
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The scientists have studied jets — the currents of plasma which are ejected from centers of black holes situated in centers of galaxies, with the velocity of jets being close to the speed of the light. Using cosmic radiotelescope «Radioastron,» the researchers have examined the surrounding areas of the black hole at the center of galaxy Persey A and have found out that the structure of the black hole hints that most probable jet is induced not by the black hole itself but by an accretion disc.

The results of the study imply that the model Blandford-Znajek model which was previously the most popular one among astronomers is not correct. According to the old viewpoint, the jet is ejected by the black hole itself upon absorption of the matter from the accretion disc. It is far more likely that the Blandford-Payne model is correct. According to the second hypothesis, the jet forms an accretion disc which rotates and can accelerate the ejected matter using its torsional moment.

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