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Bad Astronomy Video: Black Hole Traffic Jam


Last week I wrote about the supermassive black hole in the distant galaxy NGC 3862. It’s blasting out a jet of matter, and Hubble has caught blobs in the jet colliding with each other.

Here’s that story in moving picture form, in this week’s Bad Astronomy Video:

Astrophysical jets are amazing. We see them when stars are born, when they die, after they die, when black holes are born, and, like with NGC 3862, in galaxies where they can exist for hundreds of thousands of years and be hundreds of thousands of light years long.

When nature finds something it likes, it uses it over and again at all different scales. Nature’s kinda cool that way. 

Watch more of Slate’s Bad Astronomy videos with Phil Plait.

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