A rare supermassive black hole has been seen unleashing a huge ‘double burp’ after feasting on stars, gas and planets from a nearby galaxy.
Astronomers spotted the gluttonous black hole’s belches after studying a galaxy called SDSS J1354+1327, about 800 million light-years from Earth.
Researchers in Colorado noticed that it let off jets of bright light from the gas it consumed twice over the course of 100,000 years.
These ‘burps’ were followed by a period of rest, which researchers describe as the black hole ‘taking a nap.’
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.
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Researchers noticed that a black hole had produced two ‘burping’ events. The pink light (pictured) shows the latest pulse of high-energy radiation which followed another burp 100,000 years before – the remains of which can be seen as the blue cloud below the pink light
Matter is sucked into the middle of a black hole when it gets too close.
Sometimes a black hole throws back radiation in what astrophysicists have dubbed a ‘burp’.
A burp consists of high-energy particles that are kicked back out of the centre of a black hole.
They tend to occur after events where the black hole has engulfed a large amount of matter, which some scientists call a ‘meal’.
‘Black holes are voracious eaters, but it also turns out they don’t have very good table manners,’ study coauthor and University of Colorado scientist Dr Julie Comerford told the 231st American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC, yesterday.
‘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.
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.
In the same way as normal black holes, they are regions of space-time with gravitational effects so strong that even light cannot escape from inside of them.
The gas they pick up produced electromagnetic radiation as it becomes increasingly dense and is pulled towards the event horizon.
This energy is released in quasars that are seen visible light and X-ray wavelengths.
X-rays from the distant galaxy were detected by the Chandra telescope and later, the Hubble Space Telescope.
They provided astronomers at Nasa with images that showed clouds of electrons that had been removed from atoms by a high-energy burst of radiation.
The team said the cloud of ejected gas had already spread 30,000 light years from the black hole…..more here