At the largest scale, matter in the universe is unevenly distributed—galaxies tend to clump in thin filaments that surround massive voids of nothing. Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope in Chile, researchers have discovered that quasars seem to orient themselves to match the large-scale structure of the universe, ESO reports. Quasars are hugely bright objects powered by the supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies. The black holes pull in disks of material that become heated and shine brightly. Some of them also produce powerful jets of particles and radiation from their poles. Scientists have now discovered that the jets from quasars are aligned with the filaments in which they reside (see animation above). The alignment of jets suggests that the black holes powering the quasars mysteriously have the same axis of rotation as their neighbors—within a filament—despite being billions of light-years apart.
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