Cosmic jet twins discovered

Giant jets allow for the first time insight into cosmic phenomena

Cosmic Jet University of Innsbruck
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Two neighboring cosmic jets of enormous dimensions only 200 light-years away have been discovered by astronomers of the University of Innsbruck. The two almost 10-degree symmetrical structures are not only singular objects of considerable scientific interest, but will allow new insights into the widespread jet phenomenon in the universe.

Ronald Weinberger and Birgit Armsdorfer of the Institute of Astrophysics had discovered the two jets about two years ago during a meticulous survey of images of the satellite IRAS and examined more closely in the following years. The infrared satellite IRAS scanned almost the entire sky for cosmic dust radiation 20 years ago and is one of the most successful astronomical space missions. The fact that the two astronomers from Innsbruck found what they were looking for in this intensively researched material is partly due to their special knowledge in the field of structure recognition.

Matter hurlers of the universe

Cosmic jets are fast bundled streams of matter ejected from the central opening of a rotating disk of gas in two exactly opposite directions. They are among the most interesting astrophysical phenomena and can be found practically everywhere in the universe: Jets, for example, which come from the vicinity of black holes in the centers of galaxies, jets of pulsars, of old stars and many of very young stars. Astronomers suggest that both the ejection and bundling mechanisms of all these jets are basically the same; however, the great distance even of the closest known jets to the solar system prevents accurate studies.

First dustjets

"Prevents until now, " says Univ.-Prof. Ronald Weinberger, "because our jet twin is so close to the sun at only about 200 light-years away that a wealth of hitherto impracticable detailed investigations will be possible." And do not forget to add that the jets discovered by him and his colleague next to their proximity and extreme projected size in the sky also promise to be a scientific treat: These are the first in the long-wave infrared discovered jets, which consist mainly of dust particles and thus raise completely new questions.

(University of Innsbruck, 01.03.2004 - NPO) Display