Supermassive Black Hole Unleashes Giant Burp in Space-Twice

Supermassive Black Hole Unleashes Giant Burp in Space-Twice

Assistant professor Julie Comerford, who led the study, said that while astronomers have predicted that black holes could burp out light as a result of gas-feeding events, this is one of the few times one has been caught in the act.

While astronomers have predicted this type of event before, it has never been observed directly. Comerford presented the team's findings in a January 11th, 2018 press briefing at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society held in Washington D.C.

These "burps" were followed by a period of rest, which researchers describe as the black hole 'taking a nap'. "Fortunately, we happened to observe this galaxy at a time when we could clearly see evidence for both events".

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.

The galaxy under study, known to the researchers as J1354, is about 900 million light-years from Earth. The scientists got the information about the double burping massive black hole by analyzing data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

'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.

Combing images of the J1354 galaxy 800 million light-years away, they found two pools of the particles blasted from a black hole.

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When things get pulled inside the event horizon of black holes, sometimes great quantities of energy are also released in the process. "That collision led gas to stream towards the supermassive black hole and feed it two separate meals that led to these two separate burps".

Other co-authors on the new study include postdoctoral fellow Francisco Muller-Sanchez of CU Boulder, Jenny Greene of Princeton University, David Pooley from Trinity University, Daniel Stern from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and Fiona Harrison from the California Institute of Technology.

The black hole of SDSS J1354+1327 is particularly well fed: cosmic gas is being spewed out by a nearby galaxy, which flows in part into SDSS J1354+1327, and straight into the black hole's hungry mouth. To the north they saw a loop of gas that signaled the more recent burp.

The team said the cloud of ejected gas had already spread 30,000 light years from the black hole.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said study author and University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student Rebecca Nevin.

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.

The observations are important because they support previous theories - not demonstrated until now - that black holes should go through these cycles.

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