The black hole choked on a massive dinner of star dust

The black hole choked on a massive dinner of star dust

Astrophysicists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have re-assessed the energy emanating from the black hole while it is tearing apart a nearby star.

Digestive problems - an unusual situation for a black hole. The energy ejected from a black hole emits an electromagnetic spectrum, demonstrating everything from radio waves to gamma. But rare flashes are hard to track.

Tidal bursts of destruction form when a star approaches a dangerous distance to the black hole and is torn by an enormous gravitational force.

Astrophysicists have recently announced a new vision of this energy. It all started on November 11, 2014, when a global network of robotic telescopes detected an outbreak in a galaxy that is nearly 300 million light-years distant from Earth.

Automatic celestial supernova search (ASASSN) sent an event notification. Astronomers quickly aimed an armada of telescopes at a flash, called ASASSN-14li, and collected data for 270 days.

They revealed a pattern: bursts of radiation, then dips, and then another series of bursts. Identical fluctuations were detected first in the optical light collected by the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope, and then in the X-rays detected by the NASA Swift Orbital Space Observatory.

“Only recently telescopes began to communicate with each other. And we were lucky in this particular case, because many people were ready for this, ”said Darrage Pasham, an astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Because of this, we have a large amount of data.” Entering information into computer models, Pash and his colleagues discovered a curious phenomenon.

When the black hole tore up its stellar dinner, the wreckage of the star collided with each other, creating flashes in optical light at the collision sites. A few days later, when the debris approached the black hole and warmed up, they again flared up in the X-ray light of higher energy. Then they disappeared into a black hole.

“In fact, this black hole was starving for a long time, and suddenly there was an unlucky star full of matter,” said Pasham. “This stellar material is not just continuously fed to a black hole, but also interacts with itself — it stops and leaves, it stops and it leaves. It turns out that the black hole is “choking” from this unexpected stock of star debris ”.

As a rule, supermassive black holes have more habitual nutritive habits.

“You would be surprised at this choking,” said Pash. “The material around the black hole was supposed to rotate slowly and lose energy with each circular orbit. But this is not what we see here. ”

Scientists hope to explore other flares in order to better understand the connection between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.

“Almost every massive galaxy has a supermassive black hole,” he says. “But we don’t know about them while they are idle.”

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