Science

How Does A Supermassive Black Hole Burp? Scientists Capture Two Belches

How Does A Supermassive Black Hole Burp? Scientists Capture Two Belches”

Scientists captured a supermassive black hole in the J1354 galaxy letting out burps.

This is strong evidence that accreting black holes can switch their power output off and on again over timescales that are short compared to the 13.8-billion-year age of the universe.

The findings show that, millions of years ago, the black hole appears to have consumed large amounts of gas before ejecting huge jets of high energy particles in a cosmic "burp".

The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way has had at least one "burp" that we know about, with astronomers detecting indirect signs of an event in 2010. The black holes were expected to become very bright in the process of feasting and burping and then go dark during the nap phase.

The galaxy under study, known to the researchers as J1354, is about 900 million light-years from Earth.

While astronomers have predicted this type of event before, it has never been observed directly.

"We are seeing this object feast, burp and nap, and then feast, burp and nap once again, which theory had predicted", she said. For comparison, one light-year is roughly six trillion miles. Finally, scientists managed to use imagery from the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes to discover empirical proof of such a cycle taking place. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 USA research institutions that includes CU Boulder. The team concluded that clumps of material from the companion galaxy swirled toward the center of J1354 and then were eaten by the supermassive black hole.

So how did this black hole get two good meals over 100,000 years?

'The two-course meal for the black hole comes from a companion galaxy that collided with J1354 in the past, ' Nasa said in a statement. They saw a loop of gas that indicated the more recent belch. In fact, we already have well documented instances of such plumes of gas being ejected from black holes, but the duality of this fresh discovery is what makes it special.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said CU Boulder doctoral student Rebecca Nevin, a study co-author who used data from Apache Point to look at the velocities and intensities of light from the gas and stars in J1354.

'This collision produced a stream of stars and gas that links J1354 and the other galaxy.

"This new burp is actually moving like a shockwave that is coming out very fast", said Dr Comerford.

Just about everyone can relate to somebody feeling the urge to burp after a big meal, and supermassive black holes are no exception. She added that if our solar system was close to the black hole than it would be hazardous for us.



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