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Quasars & Active Galaxies

Wind from Accretion Disk Around a Black Hole
Wind from Accretion Disk Around a Black Hole.
Credit:CXC/M.Weiss

X-rays from quasars and AGNs are produced when in-falling matter is heated to temperatures of millions of degrees as it swirls toward the supermassive black hole. However, not all the matter in the gravitational whirlpool is doomed to fall into the black hole. In many quasars and AGNs, part of the gas escapes as a hot wind that is blown away from the disk at speeds as high as a tenth the speed of light.

Even more dramatic are the high-energy jets that radio and X-ray observations show exploding away from some supermassive black holes. These jets move at nearly the speed of light in tight beams that blast out of the galaxy and travel hundreds of thousands of light years.
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