Scientists discover a black hole that burps, not once but twice

Scientists discover a black hole that burps, not once but twice

Earlier also scientists were aware of the fact that the massive black holes belch, but this was for the first time that the scientists traced a supermassive black hole that burps not only once but twice.

Scientists believe supermassive black holes such as this go through a cycle of feasting, burping and then napping - and the latest discovery confirms this theory. Such an act was caught for the very first time using data from a number of telescopes and observatories. The supermassive black hole had been feasting on gas, until it burped out a high-energy particle cloud before going into a "nap" again which lasted a few thousand of years.

'We know a lot of examples of black holes with single burps emanating out, but we discovered a galaxy with a supermassive black hole that has not one but two burps. "Fortunately, we happened to observe this galaxy in a moment where we could clearly see evidence for both events". Comerford presented the team's findings in a January 11 press briefing at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society held January 8-12 in Washington D.C. This black hole is about 800 million light-years from Earth. For comparison, one light-year is roughly six trillion miles. A companion galaxy to J1354 is shown to the north. Researchers also used data from the W.M. Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii and the Apache Point Observatory (APO) in New Mexico for this finding. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 US research institutions that includes CU Boulder.

Black holes are surrounded by strong gravitational and magnetic interactions. The answer lies in a companion galaxy that is linked to J1354 by streams of stars and gas, said Comerford.

By comparing images from Chandra and HST, the team determined that the black hole is located in the center of the galaxy, the expected location for such an object.

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The astronomers came to the conclusion that the supermassive black hole ate "clumps of material" that came in from the neighboring galaxy to the center of J1354.

Chandra detected a bright, point-like source of X-ray emission from J1354, a telltale sign of the presence of a supermassive black hole millions or billions of times more massive than our sun.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said co-author Rebecca Nevin, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. "We were able to show that the gas from the north part of the galaxy was consistent with an advancing edge of a shock wave, and the gas from the south was consistent with an older quasar outflow".

This energy is released in quasars which erupt right across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves through to visible light and X-ray wavelengths. Still, what is the reason behind a supermassive black hole belching, what does this phenomenon say about physics?

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