The famous peculiar jet of M87 or Virgo A, photographed in X-ray light by the Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite. The Chandra image shows the bright nucleus of M87 (extreme left) where a supermassive central object resides, and a "knotty" X-ray jet blasting outward. Detailed Chandra data suggest that the jet is produced by strong electromagnetic forces created by matter swirling toward the supermassive object. Inside the jet, shock waves produce high-energy electrons that radiate as they spiral around the magnetic field, creating the observed knots.
M87's jet, comparison of X-ray with HST optical and NRAO radio image.
The Very Large Array radio image of the jet (lower left) and the Hubble optical image (lower right), show a similar knot structure in the jet as the Chandra image (top, and above).
Last Modification: June 2, 1998