From the May 2007 issue

Jets in a bottle

Miniature versions of astrophysical plasma jets provide insights into their cosmic cousins.
By | Published: May 28, 2007 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Whether their source is a newborn star or a massive galaxy’s core, plasma jets are an important phenomenon in astrophysics. Astronomers think most jets form in or near accretion disks. Somehow, matter falling toward a central object — which can range from a single protostar to a galaxy’s central supermassive black hole — becomes focused and redirected into a fast-moving outflow.