The universe's most powerful electric current is like a trillion bolts of lightning

About two billion light-years from Earth, there's a huge jet of matter emanating from the core of galaxy 3C303. The jet carries a current of 10^18 amps, making it by far the highest electric current ever seen.

Researchers at the University of Toronto made the find as they observed the interaction between the jet and radio waves found around the galaxy. The radio waves suddenly changed its alignment in response to the jet, which lead researcher Philipp Kronberg says is "an unambiguous signature of a current." The researchers say this incredibly high current - the equivalent of a billion billion amps - is being created by powerful magnetic fields found inside galaxy 3C303's central black hole. The jet itself extends out some 150,000 light-years, making it longer than the diameter of the entire Milky Way.

arXiv via New Scientist. Image via.