Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity says that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Jets of protons and electrons that shoot away from objects such as quasars and black holes appear to travel at speeds approaching this maximum speed, though. Such jets carry tremendous energy and can ram straight through interstellar material. In the above frame from a computer simulation, a jet traveling only 98 percent of light speed rams and mixes with interstellar material. Even higher energy jets might well explain the structure seen around Cygnus A.
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NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.
Based on Astronomy Picture Of the Day
Publications with keywords: black hole - jet - NEAR project
Publications with words: black hole - jet - NEAR project