Eileen Meyer and Markos Georganopoulos, Physics, Use Hubble Telescope to Observe Rare “Shock Collision”

Published: Jun 2, 2015

Eileen Meyer and Markos Georganopoulos, physics, published an article in Nature last week detailing their research on black holes. Meyer, the lead author of the paper, is completing a postdoctoral position at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore before beginning her professorship at UMBC.

Eileen-Meyer_bioUsing photographs taken with the Hubble Space Telescope over the past 25 years, Meyer and Georganopoulos observed a “shock collision” of plasma jets, indicating that plasma jets run into each other and gain energy in that manner. “Something like this has never been seen before in an extragalactic jet,” Meyer said. “This will allow us a very rare opportunity to see how the kinetic energy of the collision is dissipated into radiation.”

Georganopoulos_markos-bio-“The collision of outward moving components in jets has long been known, but this is the first time we actually see it happening,” co-author Markos Georganopoulos told Discovery News.

View a time-lapse of shock collision below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf7W-WfKxLM]

Their research has received national and international media attention. Read coverage of their study below:
Hubble spots a high-speed collision in an extragalactic jet (L.A. Times)
Watch a Superfast Jet of Gas Burst from a Massive Black Hole (TIME)
Black hole glimpsed playing cosmic billiards (BBC)
Hubble Witness to Relativistic Crash in a Black Hole Jet (Discovery)
UMBC physicists witness black hole history: ‘Something like this has never been seen before’ (Technical.ly)

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