Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Death star 'could be wiping out alien life'

A black hole blasting an immense jet of energy into a neighbouring galaxy has been observed by astronomers for the first time.

In a burst of galactic violence recorded by astronomers in the US space agency's ground and space-based observatories, the black hole of a "death star" is seen shooting the jet of radiation into the adjacent galaxy, NASA said.

The jet is so powerful that wipes out any life in its path.

"We've seen many jets produced by black holes, but this is the first time we've seen one punch into another galaxy like we're seeing here," said Dan Evans, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and leader of the study.

"This jet could be causing all sorts of problems for the smaller galaxy it is pummeling," said Mr Evans, who led the research team making the discovery.

The stream erupted in a galactic system called 3C321, which consists of two galaxies orbiting each other in relatively close proximity of just 20 thousand light years.

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