Jets of Hot Gas Detected Blasting Out From Black Hole at the Heart of the Phoenix Galaxy Cluster

Phoenix Galaxy Cluster Jet Structures Illustration

Artist’s illustration of the structures seen in the observations. Credit: NAOJ

Radio astronomers have detected jets of hot gas blasted out by a black hole in the galaxy at the heart of the Phoenix Galaxy Cluster, located 5.9 billion light-years away in the constellation Phoenix. This is an important result for understanding the coevolution of galaxies, gas, and black holes in galaxy clusters.

Galaxies are not distributed randomly in space. Through mutual gravitational attraction, galaxies gather together to form collections known as clusters. The space between galaxies is not entirely empty. There is very dilute gas throughout a cluster which can be detected by X-ray observations.

If this intra-cluster gas cooled, it would condense under its own gravity to form stars at the center of the cluster. However, cooled gas and stars are not usually observed in the hearts of nearby clusters, indicating that some mechanism must be heating the intra-cluster gas and preventing star formation. One potential candidate for the heat source is jets of high-speed gas accelerated by a super-massive black hole in the central galaxy.

The Phoenix Cluster is unusual in that it does show signs of dense cooled gas and massive star formation around the central galaxy. This raises the question, “does the central galaxy have black hole jets as well?”

Phoenix Galaxy Cluster Jet Structures

Radio observations of the center of the Phoenix Galaxy Cluster showing jet structures extending out from the central galaxy. Credit: Akahori et al.

A team led by Takaya Akahori at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan used the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) to search for black hole jets in the Phoenix Galaxy Cluster with the highest resolution to date. They detected matching structures extending out from opposite sides of the central galaxy. Comparing with observations of the region taken from the Chandra X-ray Observatory archive data shows that the structures detected by ATCA correspond to cavities of less dense gas, indicating that they are a pair of bipolar jets emitted by a black hole in the galaxy. Therefore, the team discovered the first example, in which intra-cluster gas cooling and black hole jets coexist, in the distant Universe.

Further details of the galaxy and jets could be elucidated through higher-resolution observations with next generation observational facilities, such as the Square Kilometer Array scheduled to start observations in the late 2020s.

These results appeared as T. Akahori et al. “Discovery of radio jets in the Phoenix galaxy cluster center” in the August 2020 issue of Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

Reference: “Discovery of radio jets in the Phoenix galaxy cluster center” by Takuya Akahori, Tetsu Kitayama, Shutaro Ueda, Takuma Izumi, Kianhong Lee, Ryohei Kawabe, Kotaro Kohno, Masamune Oguri and Motokazu Takizawa, 27 May 2020, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.
DOI: 10.1093/pasj/psaa039

5 Comments on "Jets of Hot Gas Detected Blasting Out From Black Hole at the Heart of the Phoenix Galaxy Cluster"

  1. Good morning
    How we heard the sound of the emerging of the 2 black holes in 2015 and the sound waves do not transmitted in vacume media as in space( it need media as air .water….).and how we can obtain the gravation wave in the form of radio waves.
    Please response on me
    Thank you
    Ashraf Ayoub

  2. … could that be some form of mass recycling?

  3. If you accept the much, much older concept of plasma you do not need black holes or dark matter, and you can just say ‘nice plasma stream’ when looking at this jet coming from a so-called black hole. It’s all so simple once you stop trying to conform to the mathematician’s never-resolved equations ! Plasma Cosmology, – just google them or preferably use to remove google’s preferences from your searches, lots of other places to jump into this concept….it’s a happy place – no ‘bang’ required !

    • Agreed, Veronica. Very long and laboratory verified body of work in plasma physics including Nobel prize winners that support the electrical universe, which actually resolves so many of the ongoing series of “mysteries” that always seem to be confounding standard cosmologists.

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