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Blazars -Supermassive Galactic-core Black Holes

Lsw05b00normal_sb An international team of researchers have stared down the barrel of one of the most violently energetic objects in the universe - and they didn't blink.  Instead, they've figured out the physics behind one of the most impressive astrophysical events in existence.

BL Lacertae is a blazar, a supermassive galactic-core black hole emitting vast and variable beams of energy.  Please understand that giving this thing a name like "blazar" is like calling a speeding sixteen wheeler truck full of professional wrestlers, grizzly bears and dynamite a "gentle prodder".  The English language simply lacks the ability to get across the staggering scale of these events - because it doesn't have a case above upper or letters bigger than capital.  You can try writing down the values as numbers, but they end up being so stupidly huge that our monkey brains, programmed to deal with "one two three lots", just don't comprehend them.

The most famous property of black holes is the event horizon, the "point of no return" beyond which you cannot escape.  But even before this final barrier you're still close to a gigantic gravitational well built out of most of an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) - if not a point of no return, it's still a "point of incredibly difficult to escape from".  We observe vast, super-energetic near-light speed particle streams from the poles of some such systems - what gives them the power?

That was the question Professor Alan Marscher and an international team set out to answer, confirming their theories with observations of the inner workings of the BL Lac blazar particle stream.  Big questions need big tools (especially when they're over nine hundred million miles away), so they enlisted the help of a global network of satellites including the Very Large Baseline Array (VLBA), a continental set of dishes with resolution equivalent to a dish larger than America.

These mega-scale observations tracked particles as they were hurled from the throat of the blazar, emitting radiation as they go, and confirmed the team's theories that the power source is massively compressed and twisted magnetic fields.  As material is sucked into the black hole, it spirals in along a large accretion disk.  As it gets closer to being consumed, the material is crushed smaller and smaller by increasing gravitational forces - and the magnetic field lines coming along with it are crushed together as well, creating hugely intense fields oriented around the spinning black hole.  These gigantic fields can drive particles away from the hole, causing them to corkscrew along a narrowly confined path while emitting precise bursts of radiation - bursts the astronomers observed exactly.

Understanding these universe-grade events is a great step forward in astrophysics - for one thing, The BL Lacertae blazar is a particle accelerator that makes the LHC look like an asthmatic child throwing pebbles.

Posted by Luke McKinney.

Magnetic Power Jets


that's awesome.

Your comparisons are out of hand and your English writing skills need work. If you are a contributing writer, you should be more critical about how you come off to your readers or what language you use when you write.

41 " Allah keeps a firm hold on the heavens and earth,

preventing them from vanishing away.

And if they vanished no one could then keep hold of them.

Certainly He is Most Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving".

Is the super massive black hole at the center of our milky way a Blazar..?

On Dec. 21st of 2012 our sun or the Earth itself will align perfectly with it..

What effect will this cause upon our Earth..?


Tidal upsurges, highly increased volcanism, will Yellowstone or other super volcanoes erupt, eartquakes, will the earth possibly tilt upon it's axis..or all of the above..?

1.) I take it that is 900 million light years distance.

2. To the communicant with his 2012 doomsday note, your answer is simply "No." Post your notes at the local witch's coven.

Boy, you people who leave comments are assholes! Most of you anyway....
To the commentator who left the second comment, granted I only skimmed through the article, but it seemed as though he was writing in English to me, why don't you get a f*cking life, then you wont have to be such an ass! I'm not sure what to make of the Islamic quote, you guys planning another attack on us? I don't think this is the place for your religious rhetoric. And T.J., seems like you might need a life as well... I take it you were here on the earth the last time it lined up with the center of our galaxy so you know exactly whats going to happen? Perhaps you should just shut the f*ck up and wait and see...

Luke McKinney is my favorite writer on this site. His grammar is usually fine, and his metaphors and and general style are funny.

Have published eight books with major publishers, two more to come, published in New Yorker, Atlantic, et cetera, and have degrees in English, math, and writing. All of which I say merely to indicate that some readers with a degree of linguistic sophistication disagree with poster number two.

Barrie O'Leary,

Talk about the pot calling all the kettles black. Your comment is far more derogatory and ignorant than any of the others. You address the muslim with the question about them planning another attack on us? Like ALL muslims are terrorists? (I'm NOT Muslim, so don't think I bring that up because I take personal offence or something). How about you take a hard look at yourself before you start calling other people ass holes who need to get a life! I don't know why I'm even wasting my time typing this. Ignorant pigs like you are always right and no amount of reason can convince you otherwise. Good luck on judgment day when you meet your maker (oh, but let me guess, you're too proud to admit you owe your life to another being, so atheism must be the right theory).

Correction, that last comment is directed at W.T. Heaton. This is my first visit to this site and I made the mistake of thinking the name relating to each comment was ABOVE each comment. Show your true colors W.T. and insult me for this dreadful mistake I've made.

Correction, that last comment is directed at W.T. Heaton. This is my first visit to this site and I made the mistake of thinking the name relating to each comment was ABOVE each comment. Show your true colors W.T. and insult me for this dreadful mistake I've made.

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