Astronomers find newborn jets in distant galaxies

Astronomers, based on telescope data, discovered a number of distant galaxies with supermassive black holes in their cores: powerful radio-emitting streams, called jets, appeared in them.

We have discovered galaxies that previously did not have any traces of jets, but now they have appeared there. This happened relatively recently, which means they are still young.

Christina Nyland, NRC Researcher working in the Naval Research Laboratory

Such jets can greatly affect the growth and evolution of their galaxies, but we still do not fully understand how they form and what task they perform.

All observations were made by the VLASS researchers, a large group working on a unique radio survey of the entire sky. Observations began in 2017 and the first of three scans has now been completed. As a result, they are about 2,000 objects that appear in VLASS images but were not detected in the previous FIRST survey.

Of these, they selected 26 objects that were previously classified as galaxies with active nuclei powered by supermassive blacks. FIRST observations were conducted from 1994 to 2001, and VLASS in 2019. Thus, the intervals between observations ranged from 18 to 25 years. It was during this period that jets were formed in galaxies.

Scientists are already preparing for a new phase of observations: they will also explore galaxies with an X-ray observatory and telescopes in the visible and infrared range.