back to article Gas cloud around galactic nucleus reveals unified view of center

Research published today confirms that what scientists thought were two types of active galactic nuclei are, in fact, one: the features were simply tilted at different angles. Left: dazzling view of the active galaxy Messier 77 captured with the FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph 2 (FORS2) instrument on ESO’s Very …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Pint

    Boffins continue to amaze me

    Between better telescopes and better software, the view of the aspects of the universe that boffins have been able to discern continues to amaze me,

    I wonder if Imaging the X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), which just released its first observation -

    https://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-s-new-x-ray-space-telescope-has-sent-back-its-first-incredible-science-image

    can add to this with its ability to detect the polarization of high energy x-rays?

  2. ThatOne Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Sorry, what did he say?

    > "I predict that, with improved resolution, imaging will reveal that the torus is oriented east-west on the smallest scales,"

    Am I the only one wondering what this phrase might mean? Where is "east" and "west" in a galaxy, and what did he possibly mean by "the smallest scales"?

    1. the small snake
      Boffin

      Re: Sorry, what did he say?

      What this means is that the axis of the torus as (he thinks) in same direction as axis of the jets which is north-south and so a plane through the torus would be perpendicular to that axis & thus contain east-west axes. It's bad use of terminology I think.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Sorry, what did he say?

        Thanks, that's what I guessed too, but the "smallest scales" part doesn't really fit anywhere.

        *scratches head*

  3. Cuddles Silver badge

    Odd advice

    "my adviser Joe Miller described the field as mere 'stamp collecting' because of the wide variety of inexplicable behaviours seen among this seemingly highly heterogeneous group"

    Yeah, why would any scientist be interested in studying a field full of weird stuff we don't understand?

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Odd advice

      Unfortunately, because of career. You need to make sure the university/lab financing your research is getting its money's worth, and unless you discover fairly regularly something a little bit PR-worthy, it won't.

      It's the curse of modern science, and the reason so little fundamental research is done: It doesn't pay (literally) to spend one's life trying to understand some obscure principles without any practical application: "Stamp collecting" was meant here as something which might be interesting to do, but won't put food on the table.

    2. the small snake
      Boffin

      Re: Odd advice

      Point being is that if you assume these things will remain inexplicable you are reduced to simply cataloguing them, which is (important activity in fact, but) 'stamp-collecting': 'here is a thing which looks like this, here are some other things which look like the first thing, here are some things which look different than the first thing, here are ...'. And adviser was assuming (wrongly) that would remain inexplicable.

    3. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Odd advice

      “But a voice from the sky is exactly what you found, Dr Arroway!”

      - Contact, 1997.

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