Through first-of-their-kind supercomputer simulations, researchers have gained new insight into one of the most mysterious phenomena in modern astronomy: the behavior of relativistic jets that shoot from black holes, extending outward across millions of light years.
Advanced simulations created with one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers show the jets’ streams gradually change direction in the sky, or precess, as a result of space-time being dragged into the rotation of the black hole. This behavior aligns with Albert Einstein’s predictions about extreme gravity near rotating black holes, published in his famous theory of general relativity.
“Understanding how rotating black holes drag the space-time around them and how this process affects what we see through the telescopes remains a crucial, difficult-to-crack puzzle,” said Alexander Tchekhovskoy, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. “Fortunately, the breakthroughs in code development and leaps in supercomputer architecture are bringing us ever closer to finding the answers.”
Continue on to the full Northwestern News article.
Read the paper, “Formation of precessing jets by tilted black hole discs in 3D general relativistic MHD simulations“.
Additional Coverage in:
Sky News, “Supercomputer provides black hole breakthrough“.
IBTimes, “Black Hole Burps Wiggle Around In Space Like Spinning Tops” by Elana Glowatz.
The Independent (UK), “Mysterious ‘relativistic jets’ that shoot from black holes simulated in lab ” by Josh Gabbatiss.
EarthSky, “Supercomputer insights on mysterious black hole jets” by Deborah Byrd.