Scientists Caught Distant Supermassive Black Hole Burping

  • Scientists Caught Distant Supermassive Black Hole Burping

Scientists Caught Distant Supermassive Black Hole Burping

As it turns out, black holes have a similar habit, and astronomers have just captured photo evidence of one of the universe's most destructive entities burping not once, but twice in quick succession.

Scientists presented their research regarding the supermassive black hole burping at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The team of scientists utilised two different space telescopes to observe this event. The team found radiation at the centre of the galaxy that showed that the black hole was feasting about million years ago.

"We are seeing this object feast, burp and nap, and then feast, burp and nap once again, which theory had predicted", says study lead Julie Comerford.

Scientists have combined images of the J1354 galaxy, which is located 800 million light-years away.

A paper on the subject was published in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal. 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 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. The researchers suggest that material from the companion galaxy gravitated towards the centre of J1354, providing it with huge amounts of extra material to eat.

Black holes are the darlings of astrophysicists all over the world.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said Rebecca Nevin, a study co-author and doctoral student at CU Boulder. "This new burp is actually moving like a shock wave - it's coming out very fast, and so it's kind of like a sonic boom of a burp, whereas the gas to the south shows us an older burp that happens 100,000 years earlier before that newer burp".

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. Comerford said that these events of bubbles appear after a black hole feeding process.