New details spied in a jet of material ejected from the center of a distant galaxy

Astronomers have used the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to view previously unseen details in a jet of material being ejected from the core of the galaxy about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth. The material is being ejected from the center of the galaxy at three-quarters of the speed of light. The galaxy in question is called PSO J0309+27 and is known as a blazer.

The jet of material is pointed towards the Earth, and it's the brightest radio-emitting blazer ever observed from such a distance. Researchers say it's also the second-brightest X-ray emitting blazer viewed at its distance. The image above shows the brightest radio emission comes from the galaxy's core at the bottom right of the image.

The jet of material is propelled by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy moving outward towards the upper left of the image. While the jet of material appears small in the image, it extends about 1600 light-years. The galaxy is so far away from Earth that at this distance, it was seen as it was when the universe was less than a billion years old, about seven percent of its current age.

The galaxy was observed in April and May 2020 by an international team of astronomers led by Christina Spingola of the University of Bologna in Italy. The team's analysis of properties of the object supports theoretical models that attempt to explain why blazers are rare in the early universe.

The images are impressively detailed, considering the unimaginable distance between it and Earth. It's incredible that we can observe the galaxy at all over that vast distance.