New evidence has been uncovered for the presence of a jet of high-energy particles blasting out of the Milky Way's supermassive black hole. As outlined in the press release, astronomers have made the best case yet that such a jet exists by combining X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio emission from the NSF's Very Large Array (VLA).
This composite image features both X-rays from Chandra (purple) and radio data from the VLA (blue). A labeled version of this image reveals the position of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A* for short) and the suspected jet.
The location of a shock front is also marked. As the jet fires away from Sgr A*, it travels through space until it hits gas several light years away. (The region around the Milky Way's black hole has many clumps of gas and dust.) Once the jet hits, it triggers the formation of a shock front. This interaction also accelerates electrons, generating X-rays as the electrons stream down the path of the jet, past the shock front.
-Megan Watzke, CXC