Astronomers have produced a detailed image of a massive volcanic eruption from the nearest massive black hole spanning the size of 16 full moons in the sky.
The image, which captures the radio emission of the material it ejects Black hole At nearly the speed of light, giant lobes of plasma appear spread over a million light-years from the center of its galaxy, Centaurus A.
Centaurus A, about 12 million light-years away from the earth, is the fifth brightest galaxy in the sky as seen from our planet. In its center is the closest known black hole actively feeding our planet, a monster with a mass of 55 million suns. The black hole devours gas, dust and other materials in its vicinity, then ejects it in the form of powerful jets that spread far into intergalactic space, creating huge bubbles that can be seen in this image.
new pictures: A powerful jet emerges from a black hole in unprecedented detail
The galaxy itself occupies a very small spot in the center of the image. The points in the background are not stars but other similar, but very far away, galaxies. Foreground points are stars in our galaxy, and Milky Way.
The image was taken with the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in the outback of Western Australia, a quiet location without radio interference and a wide field of view.
The image consists of radio, optical and X-ray observations, said Benjamin McKinley, an astronomer at Curtin University in Australia and lead author of a new study describing the explosion. in the current situation.
Radio plasmas emitted from the black hole are shown in blue and appear to interact with the hot X-ray emitting gases (orange) and cold neutral hydrogen (purple). The red hues reveal the so-called H-alpha spectral lines characteristic of hydrogen losing electrons.
“Previous radio observations could not cope with the extreme brightness of the jets, and details of the larger region around the galaxy were distorted, but our new image overcomes these limitations,” McKinley said.
The galaxy appears brighter in the center, McKinley said, where energy is concentrated and where it is most active. As energy dissipates toward the fringes of the galaxy, galactic matter appears fainter.
Astrophysicist Massimo Gaspari, of Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics, said the study supported a new theory known as “cold-cold accumulation” (CCA), which has emerged in various fields.
“In this model, cold gas clouds condense in the galactic halo and fall over the central regions to feed the supermassive black hole,” Gaspari said in the statement. “Because of this rain, the black hole reacts aggressively by releasing energy back through radio jets that amplify the amazing lobes we see in the image. This study is one of the first to examine in such detail multiphase CCA ‘weather’ over a full range of scales. “.
studying It was published Thursday (December 23) in Nature Astronomy.