An Erupting Black Hole in a Large Elliptical Galaxy

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Chandra X-ray observatory took this image of galaxy NGC 4696
Investigations at the heart of elliptical galaxy NGC 4696 (image credit: NASA/Chandra).

A super massive black hole lurks at the centre of most galaxies. This fact alone indicates that black holes and galaxies must somehow co-evolve, each shepherding the others growth and function. But how do black holes and their host galaxies physically act on each other?
In some recent work done using the Chandra X-ray Observatory, astrophysicists have found evidence of massive periodic jets shooting out from the centre of galaxy NGC 4696 (the 4696th galaxy in the New General Catalogue). Every 5 to 10 million years, the jets turn on, dumping a massive amount of mass and energy out into the galaxy and its surrounding environment. This black hole 'heart beat' may help answer the question: how do black holes shape their galactic environment?

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An Erupting Black Hole in a Large Elliptical Galaxy
NASA
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Jesse Rogerson, PhD

Jesse is a passionate scientist, educator, and science communicator. As an assistant professor at York University in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, he teaches three classes: History of Astronomy, Introduction to Astronomy, and Exploring the Solar System. He frequently collaborates with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and lends his expert voice to the Ingenium Channel. Jesse is an astrophysicist, and his research explores how super massive black holes evolve through time. Whether in the classroom, through social media, or on TV, he encourages conversations about how science and society intersect, and why science is relevant in our daily lives.