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
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Jesse Rogerson, PhD

As a passionate science communicator, Jesse Rogerson loves promoting science literacy to the public. He frequently represents the Canada Aviation and Space Museum on television and radio, social media, and at conferences. He co-developed a science communication workshop for Canadian science professionals, to instruct them in more effective methods of communicating their science. A trained and practicing astrophysicist, Jesse holds a PhD in observational astrophysics from York University, and recently published a peer-reviewed paper in The Astrophysical Journal. Jesse enjoys riding his motorcycle, board games, and ultimate frisbee.