The black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy has a leak. This supermassive black hole appears to retain remnants of a blowtorch-like jet from many thousand years ago.
While NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope did not image the phantom jet, it did assist in establishing circumstantial evidence that it is still pushing feebly into a massive hydrogen cloud and then splattering, much like a narrow stream from a hose aiming at a pile of sand.
This composite image combines X-rays, molecular gas, and heated ionized gas in the vicinity of the galactic center.
Orange-hued features are caused by incandescent hydrogen gas. At the jet’s upper tip, one such structure is understood as a hydrogen cloud that has been struck by the outflowing jet. The jet disperses the cloud’s tendrils northward.
Further down, near the black hole, X-ray observations of superheated gas in blue and molecular gas in green are seen. These results indicate that the black hole occasionally swallows stars or gas clouds and ejects some of the superheated matter down its spin axis.