February 26, 2011
Artist's conceptualization of the environment around the supermassive black hole at the center of Mrk 231. The broad outflow seen in the Gemini data is shown as the fan-shaped wedge at the top of the accretion disk around the black hole. This side-view is not what is seen from the Earth where we see it â€˜looking down the throat' of the outflow. A similar outflow is probably present under the disk as well and is hinted at in this illustration. The total amount of material entrained in the broad flow is at least 400 times the mass of the Sun per year. Note that a more localized, narrower jet is shown, this jet was known prior to the Gemini discovery of the broader outflow featured here.
Topics: Supermassive black holes, Black holes, Jets, Polar jet, Relativistic jet, Quasar, Accretion disc