Scientists Caught Distant Supermassive Black Hole Burping

Bright light from gas the black hole is accreting. Pic NASA, ESA and J. Comerford

Image Bright light is 'burped' out by the black hole. Pic NASA, ESA J Comerford

Supermassive black holes, which can have the mass of 100 suns, are found at the centre of almost all big galaxies.

Now, the Hubble and Chandra space telescopes have detected a new belch emerging from a black hole located about 800 million light-years away.

As per the study, the large black hole letting out double burp is situated at the center of a galaxy which is nearly 800-million light-years away from Earth. While even light can not escape the pull of one of these gravity wells, blacks holes do, very occasionally, "burp" back out chunks of half-consumed gas.

In a new study, scientists have discovered a new type of very big black hole that releases not one but two massive "burps". 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.

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.

An X-ray emission from the galaxy, dubbed SDSS J1354+1327, was discovered by the Chandra telescope. They found that electrons had been stripped from atoms in the cone of gas and surmise that this was caused by a burst of radiation from the vicinity of the black hole.

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The team said the cloud of ejected gas had already spread 30,000 light years from the black hole. Dr. Comerford informed that the new burp was moving like a shock wave that was coming out very fast.

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".

The new discovery supports previous theories that suggested black holes go through cycles of burping.

Black holes follow a predictable cycle of feasting, burping and then napping. The black holes were expected to become very bright in the process of feasting and burping and then go dark during the nap phase.

The scientists believe there were two burps in quick succession as the black hole consumed two separate "meals" of matter. The reason for this might lie with the fact that the galaxy it's in had collided with another galaxy nearby.

'This collision produced a stream of stars and gas that links J1354 and the other galaxy. 'Fortunately, we happened to observe this galaxy at a time when we could clearly see evidence for both events.' So why did the black hole have two separate meals?

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