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Set Your Watch to This Black Hole

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab
Astronomers believe they are seeing the first cyclic gamma-ray emission from a galaxy. Using the Fermi Large Area Telescope, the team at the Italian Space Agency studied an active galaxy called a blazar, which shoots off jets from a supermassive black hole at the center; in this case, one of the jets is pointed straight at us. If astronomers are right, they’ll see the gamma-ray emission peak again in 2017 and 2019. The cause could be a number of things, including a wobble of the black hole, or even the presence of a second neighboring supermassive black hole causing the first one to tilt.

Heather Goss is the Departments Editor at Air & Space.

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