Press Release

Two-decade monitoring of M87 unveils a precessing jet connecting to a spinning black hole

2023 Sep. 28

The nearby radio galaxy M87, located 55 million light-years from the Earth and harboring a black hole 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun, has recently been discovered to exhibit an oscillating jet. This investigation found the jet swinging up and down with an amplitude of about 10 degrees. Through the extensive analysis of data observed from 2000 to 2022 by various international networks of radio telescopes, the research team unveils a recurring 11-year cycle in the precessing motion of the jet base, as predicted by Einstein’s general relativity. This work successfully linked the dynamics of the jet with the central supermassive black hole, offering the evidence for the existence of M87’s black hole spin. The work is published in the current issue of Nature.

Figure 1. Schematic representation of the tilted accretion disk model. The black hole spin axis is assumed to align vertically. The jet direction stands almost perpendicular to the disk plane. The misalignment between the black hole spin axis and disk rotation axis triggers the precession of disk and jet. Credit: Yuzhu Cui et al. (2023), Intouchable Lab@Openverse and Zhejiang Lab.


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→The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)


Original Paper
Title: Precessing jet nozzle connecting to a spinning black hole in M87
Journal: Nature
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06479-6