Supermassive Black Hole is Caught Letting Out Massive 'Burps'

Scientists captured the super-massive black hole while burping

Just like normal black holes, they are regions of space-time with gravitational effects so strong that even electromagnetic radiation such as light can not escape from inside of them.

'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. It was spotted reflecting bright light because of the excessive gas it inhaled. The black hole living in the middle of a highly bright celestial object is named a quasar. Scientists recorded two belches in a row.

'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. Great plumes of gas, matter and radiation can be ejected by black holes, and in fact, scientists theorized that these "burps" ought to come at pretty quick intervals if a black hole is well fed.

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

X-rays from the distant galaxy were detected by the Chandra telescope and later, the Hubble Space Telescope. The team found radiation at the centre of the galaxy that showed that the black hole was feasting about million years ago. To the north they saw a loop of gas that signaled the more recent burp.

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Investigating J1354, Chandra detected a supermassive black hole, millions or billions of times more massive than the Sun, at the centre of the galaxy, embedded in a thick cloud of gas and dust.

Black holes are incredibly powerful gravity wells that absorb anything and everything that gets too close. "Fortunately, we happened to observe this galaxy at a time when we could clearly see evidence for both events". This speed suggests that the black hole of Milky Way will surely going to burp again soon.

The team, led by University of Colorado Boulder researchers, was fortunate to catch the black hole in the act, as the action has rarely been seen before as a result of gas feeding.

Even our Milky Way galaxy has had at least one burp, said Comerford.

These "burps" were followed by a period of rest, which researchers describe as the black hole 'taking a nap'. But when the areas around supermassive black holes emit light stemming from feeding episodes, they are known as quasars, said Comerford of CU Boulder's Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences.

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