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A galaxy that emits a jet of 'DNA-shaped' material sparks the interest of experts

A galaxy that emits a jet of ‘DNA-shaped’ material sparks the interest of experts

Image of the galaxy Messier 87 EFE

The galaxy Messier 87 contains a black hole at its center Double helical structure extrudes a stream of material Scientists have noticed that it is directed by a magnetic field bearing this shape at a 3300 light years away, which has not yet been observed.

study published Astrophysical Journal Letters Headed by Mexican scientists and with the participation of Spanish, he reports on this discovery in the galaxy M87, the galaxy that became famous because the supermassive black hole in its core was the first to be photographed.

Located 55 million light-years away, MS87 is much more massive than the Milky Way, and a stream of material emanates from its central regions traveling at nearly the speed of light and extending beyond the galaxy itself.

This jet is oriented by the presence of a magnetic field and acquires a double helical structure, the team saw, using the Karl G radio interferometer.

The images revealed that the magnetic field maintains the spiral shape at a distance of about 3,300 light-years from the supermassive black hole, a distance that has so far not been observed in other galaxies where magnetic field formations have also been detected.

Study leader Alice Pacito, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) highlighted that the material in this jet “follows a double helix, a structure very similar to a DNA molecule.”

File photo of NASA's NASA Telescope
File photo of NASA’s NASA Telescope

Another researcher, Jose Luis Gómez, a researcher at the Institute of Astrophysics in Andalusia (IAA-CSIC) noted that they expected the magnetic field to adopt a spiral configuration very close to the black hole and that this is what allows the material to do so. Exit directed in a very narrow plane.

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What they did not expect, he added, is that this spiral formation remains at a distance from the center of the galaxy, because the magnetic field should weaken with distance and lose the initial spiral structure.

The team suggests that the in-plane instability could rearrange the magnetic field and maintain the structure for very long distances.

“If this happens in M87, it could also happen in other similar jets driven by other galaxies,” he said. Carlos Carrasco Gonzalez is a radio astronomer from UNAM.

MS87 is a galaxy that is relatively close to Earth and its jet is very powerful, which makes it – he adds – an ideal object for detailed study, which will help to understand the phenomenon of relativistic jets, which is present in many objects. Astronomical events in the universe, not just active galaxies.

(With information from EFE)

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