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THE "MANATEE." RED IS RADIO (VLA, G. DUBNER ET AL), GREEN IS OPTICAL (SKINAKAS OBSERVATORY IN GREECE, P. BOUMIS ET AL.), YELLOW: SOFT X-RAYS (0.5–1 KEV), MAGENTA: MEDIUM ENERGY X-RAYS (1–2 KEV), CYAN: HARD X-RAY EMISSION (2–12 KEV) USING ESA’S XMM-NEWTON. // IMAGE: SAMAR SAFI-HARB ET AL. (2022)

Researchers pinpoint location of extremely energetic particles in a ‘Space Manatee’

An international team of astrophysicists has identified the location where powerful and highly energetic x-rays are being shot out into space from inside a region in space shaped like a giant aquatic mammal called a “Manatee.” They found the spectrum of the object at this location shows there is a “non-classical acceleration process” where particles are being injected and re-accelerated in immensely powerful jets of energy emitted by a black hole. But don’t worry about it irradiating us, since it’s more than 100,000,000,000,000,000 kilometres away from us.

The astronomical object known as SS 433 has long been known to house a black hole that is causing blasts of energy to spew out across the Milky Way through jets of highly energetic particles. Considered the first known microquasar, it’s at the centre of what’s left of an exploded star in the constellation Aquila, high up in the summer night sky.

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