Scientists Caught Distant Supermassive Black Hole Burping

Scientists catch supermassive black hole burping- twice

The first burp took place far more than a hundred thousand years ago, and the resultant gas that's been released into the universe has been traveling away from the black hole ever since. Those two burps are evidence of black hole activity, which has been suggested for a long time.

Supermassive black holes are like your average black hole in that they're both regions with such strong gravitational effects that nothing, including light, can escape. This behavior seems to confirm the fast cycle predicted by astronomer theories about black holes.

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. They also recently published their findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

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. For comparison, one light-year is roughly six trillion miles. One was Hubble Space Telescope, and another one was Chandra X-ray Observatory. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 USA research institutions that includes CU Boulder. Scientists consider that the black hole exploded the gas twice because it might have two meals at the same time. The answer lies in a companion galaxy that is linked to J1354 by streams of stars and gas, said Comerford.

The expert added that "black holes are voracious eaters, but it turns out they don't have very good table manners" as she compared the space behemoths to "someone eating dinner".

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The reason the galaxy burped up material twice is due to a companion galaxy that interacted with J1354.

Black holes are incredibly powerful gravity wells that absorb anything and everything that gets too close.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said study author and University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student Rebecca Nevin. "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". Researchers said that they could see this object having meal, nap and belch and repeating these activities.

Supermassive black holes have masses greater than one million suns combined and would fit inside a ball with a diameter about the size of the solar system.


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