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Astronomers have followed up their seminal 2019 observation of the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy Messier 87 (M87) with stunning images of another black hole. This time they have used the Event Horizon Telescope to make high-resolution observations of a jet of plasma emerging from the supermassive black hole in the active galaxy Centaurus A, which lies 12 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus.

The observations, documented in Nature Astronomy, build upon information astronomers gathered from the glowing ring that represented the matter around M87’s supermassive black hole, which was our first direct glimpse of such an area of space. The new findings reveal that matter around black holes seem to behave similarly over a range of masses.

“They all seem to follow simple symbiotic relationships between the matter that is flowing in via accretion and the matter that is flowing out as jets” says Michael Janssen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, who is lead author on the study. These relationships hold for all ranges of black hole masses that we have studied so far.”

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