We don't know why the high-speed particles are coming from, but we do know what part they're coming from.

Let's back up a little.

A gas cloud in space is called Westerhout 50. It is a remnant of a star that exploded many years ago. It's strange. It is 350 by 650 light years in size and forms a rough ellipse that is much larger than most other remnants. It looks like a sea cow swimming past us on its side, and is called the Manatee Nebula because of it's name.

It has a black hole at its center. It is the remnant of the star that exploded to create the nebula. The black hole was formed when the massive core of the star collapsed. The black hole is tearing material off the star because it is so close in size. There is a hot disk around the black hole.

The disk has powerful magnetic fields that are centered above and below the black hole. The material is pulled up and away from the disk by the magnetic field and sent screaming away at a quarter the speed of light Astronomers call this a lighthouse searchlight. They don't form the black hole immediately. The disk of matter is wrenched on by the companion star's gravity and slowly wobbling. The jets form huge spirals when they aim in different directions over time.

Astronomers discovered that the Manatee was sending out high-energy X-rays, created when electrons are accelerated to 450 Tera-electonVolts. The amount of energy is the same as a raindrop.

That is a lot of energy in a single electron. The electrons in the drop of water are trillions of times more powerful than the electrons they normally have. It is a large amount.

The black hole and its magnetic field are obvious culprits, but how are they firing up the electrons?

It would be helpful to know where the X-rays are coming from, they are the physical evidence of the particle acceleration. New observations using the space-based X MM-Newton and Chandra X-ray Observatory have made a big step in understanding the physical process.

The X-rays are not coming from the black hole. There is a structure that looks like a fountain and the X-rays come from it.

That is very intriguing. Most supernova remnants are circular.

The new structure seen in the XMM-Newton data is similar to the one depicted in the descriptions of the nebula. It's very likely that the jet from the black hole is the cause. I don't know how to be honest.

Sometimes a cloud of gas will catch up to and slam into a slower moving cloud in the middle of a supernova remnant. The sheets are lovely and can be seen in the manatees. This creates huge shocks. Particles like electrons can get caught up in the magnetic fields of the gas clouds, and as the clouds collide the particles can be accelerated to ferocious speeds. When an electron hits a photon of light, it causes the photon to get pumped up with huge energy, like X-rays and even gamma rays.

The black hole jet slams into the pre-existing supernova gas, creating extremely powerful shock waves, which then create the X-rays seen by X MM-Newton.

There are a lot of details that aren't explained by the story. There may be more going on here because models show that is hard. It's a good start.

I remember when it was discovered that it had odd behavior and that it was linked to the precessing jets. We are still finding strange behavior from this thing. That is the fun of this all. There is more that can be learned about giant space manatees being shaped by active black holes.