Supermassive black hole 'double burps' light


While even light can not escape the pull of one of these gravity wells, blacks holes do, very occasionally, "burp" back out chunks of half-consumed gas. They go through occasional feeding episodes where hot cosmic gas gets sucked in and high-energy particles are emitted in the form of jets of bright light. Investigators said that they are very fortunate that they observed this galaxy in a moment where they were able to see both these events very clearly.

Investigating J1354, Chandra detected a supermassive black hole, millions or billions of times more massive than the Sun, at the centre of the galaxy, embedded in a thick cloud of gas and dust.

The team of researchers, that published a journal entry on the results, declared they believe the black hole could have burped twice thanks to a collision between two galaxies.

Ms Comerford announced the discovery at the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington DC. Images show the 800 million year old object, surrounded up and down by two distinct clouds of gas and radiation, which are only about 100 thousand years apart in age. For comparison, one light-year is roughly six trillion miles. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 USA research institutions that includes CU Boulder.

Researchers noticed that a black hole had produced two "burping" events.

       Black hole 'relativistic jets' seen wobbling
Video Black hole 'relativistic jets' seen wobbling

'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. The team concluded that material from the companion galaxy swirled into the center of J1354 and then was eaten by the supermassive black hole. Those two burps are evidence of black hole activity, which has been suggested for a long time. This particular black hole has been spotted burping not once, but twice, showing just how imprecise the process of being gobbled up by a black hole can become when a lot of matter is pouring into one all at once.

Well, nearly nothing. As it turns out, supermassive black holes aren't always thorough when gobbling up star systems and solar debris.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said Rebecca Nevin, a study co-author and doctoral student at CU Boulder.

Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has experienced at least one burp, Ms Comerford added - noting how "Fermi bubbles" had been detected shining at the extreme end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Just like normal black holes, they are regions of space-time with gravitational effects so strong that even electromagnetic radiation such as light can not escape from inside of them.