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. A trained and practicing astrophysicist, Jesse holds a PhD in observational astrophysics from York University, and publishes his research in peer-reviewed journals. Jesse enjoys riding his motorcycle, board games, and ultimate frisbee.