Artistic vision of powerful winds bursting into an external disk of material accumulated around a black hole of stellar mass. The disk material (yellow) is first drawn from the outer parts of the neighboring star (top right). A black hole of stellar mass is located in the center of a disk with a diameter of 5 million km
The new study shows the first evidence of the presence of powerful winds around black holes during the period of material absorption. This will help to reconsider our understanding of the process of mass transfer into black holes and the influence of the latter on their environment.
Using information from three international space agencies for 20 years, the researchers used new statistical methods to study the black hole flares of stellar masses in X-ray binary systems. The findings show the presence of persistent and strong winds concentrating around black holes during bursts. So far, they have been able to be noticed only in limited parts of events. The winds must blow out most of the matter that the black hole will swallow. In one of the models, the winds removed 80% of the potential food. Depending on the size, the black holes of stellar mass can absorb everything within a radius of 3-150 km. Larger objects (supermassive black holes) can affect the creation of entire galaxies.
What causes these winds in space? The reason still remains a mystery. Perhaps the key role is played by magnetic fields, but additional research will be needed to confirm this theory.