What are black hole jets made of?
Many black holes in stellar systems are surely surrounded by disks of gas and
plasma gravitationally pulled from a close binary star companion.
Some of this material, after approaching the
ends up being expelled from the star system in
emanating from the poles of the
spinning black hole.
Recent evidence indicates that these jets are composed not only
but also the nuclei of heavy elements such as
The discovery was made in system 4U1630-47 using
of radio telescopes in eastern
Australia, and the
European Space Agency's Earth-orbiting
The 4U1630-47 star system is
depicted above in an artist's illustration,
with a large blue star on the right and jets emanating from a black hole in the center of the
accretion disc on the left.
4U1630-47 star system is thought to contain only a small
black hole -- a few times the mass of our Sun -- the implications of the results may be larger: that
black holes of larger sizes might
also be emitting jets of massive nuclei into the cosmos.
CXC, M. Weiss