A COSMIC jet 2 billion light years away is carrying the highest electric current ever seen: 1018 amps, equivalent to a trillion bolts of lightning.
Philipp Kronberg of the University of Toronto in Canada and colleagues measured the alignment of radio waves around a galaxy called 3C303, which has a giant jet of matter shooting from its core. They saw a sudden change in the waves' alignment coinciding with the jet. "This is an unambiguous signature of a current," says Kronberg.
The team thinks magnetic fields from a colossal black hole at the galaxy's core are generating the current, which is powerful enough to light up the jet and drive it through interstellar gases out to a distance of about 150,000 light years