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In this issue:
Extreme Jets Take New Shape
Science Bowl Volunteer Meeting Today
FOLA Meeting Today

SLAC Today

Thursday - February 18, 2010

Extreme Jets Take New Shape

Recent observations of blazar jets require researchers to look deeper into whether current theories about jet formation and motion require refinement. This simulation, courtesy of Jonathan McKinney (KIPAC), shows a black hole pulling in nearby matter (yellow) and spraying energy back out into the universe in a jet (blue and red) that is held together by magnetic field lines (green).

Jets of particles streaming from black holes in far-away galaxies operate differently than previously thought, according to a study published today in Nature. The new study reveals that most of the jet's light—gamma rays, the universe's most energetic form of light—is created much farther from the black hole than expected and suggests a more complex shape for the jet.

The research was led by scientists at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, with participation from scientists from around the world. The study included data from more than 20 telescopes including the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and KANATA telescope.

High above the flat Milky Way galaxy, bright galaxies called blazars dominate the gamma-ray sky, discrete spots on the dark backdrop of the universe. As nearby matter falls into the black hole at the center of a blazar, "feeding" the black hole, it sprays some of this energy back out into the universe as a jet of particles.

"As the universe's biggest accelerators, blazar jets are important to understand," said KIPAC Research Fellow Masaaki Hayashida, who serves as corresponding author on the paper with KIPAC Astrophysicist Greg Madejski. "But how they are produced and how they are structured is not well understood. We're still looking to understand the basics."  Read more...

(Image - Science Bowl 2010 logo)
(Logo by SLAC Infomedia Solutions.)

Science Bowl Volunteer Meeting Today

The first of two training sessions for volunteers supporting the upcoming Regional Science Bowl will take place today from 10:00 a.m. to noon in Panofsky Auditorium. Volunteers are still needed to serve as moderators, judges, scorekeepers and timekeepers for the event. Come show our bright local high school students a fun time on February 27 as they compete for a spot at the national competition!

For more information, see the event Web site and Volunteer Information page.

FOLA Meeting Today

 (Photo by Doug Kreitz.)

Come join the Friends of the Linear Accelerator from noon to 1 p.m. today in Building 41's Yellow Conference Room to learn about FOLA's volunteer efforts and how you can help. FOLA volunteers contribute to a wide variety of efforts to provide SLAC logo items for sale through the Guest House Gift Shop.

The proceeds go directly back to SLAC employees in the form of many items, such as display cases and picnic tables, that enhance the SLAC experience. See A New Chapter for the Friends of the Linear Accelerator for more details.

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