The black hole at the edge of galaxy NGC 7793, twelve million light years from Earth, has been found to be doing something rare - emitting powerful jets of particles of a total length of 1,000 light years. The energy produced by matter falling into a black hole this size is usually transformed into X-rays, not into jets, but this one is the exception - a miniature version of certain supermassive black holes present in the active nuclei of galaxies.
The two jets of matter that they observed are the most powerful ever discovered for this type of black hole, resulting from the collapse of a star. The jets push back the interstellar medium, hollowing out a large bubble of relativistic particles and very hot gases around the black hole. This bubble radiates in the optical, X-ray and radio wavelengths: it has been expanding for 200,000 years and now measures 1,000 light years in diameter. It is inflating at a speed close to one million kilometers per hour.
Until now, it was thought that the energy produced by a black hole swallowing matter was mainly emitted in the form of radiation, particularly X-rays. This discovery is all the more surprising as it shows that certain black holes can emit much more energy in the form of jets of particles. These jets, when they come into contact with interstellar gas, trigger a shockwave that causes heating and accelerates the expansion of the bubble.
In the case of the active nuclei of galaxies, which contain supermassive black holes, jets of particles are also observed streaming in the intergalactic medium. This discovery should therefore elucidate the mechanisms by which these jets are produced and their impact on the near and distant environment of the black hole.
Citation: 'A 300 parsec long jet-inflated bubble around a powerful microquasar in the galaxy NGC 7793', Nature, 8 July 2010, M. W. Pakull, R. Soria and C. Motch
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Intellectually Gifted Kids And Learning Disabilities Often Go Hand In Hand
- Why It Took Big Humans To Populate Europe
- When Does Quantum Mechanics Become Classical Physics?
- Study Shows Association Between Migraine And Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- ESA’s IXV spaceplane Test Flight a Complete Success
- Phase 3 Trial Of Brentuximab Vedotin Shows It Doubles Progression Free Survival In Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Herpes: Cytomegalovirus Hijacks Human Enzyme For Replication
- "Thanks for the post to let us know more about herpes...."
- " Fermi's Paradox seems to be assuming advanced civilizations would be biologic lifeforms instead..."
- "Ginger ale may be as close to salty as I can go...."
- "Hi Hank - lots of good comments - some I agree with - others not so much, LOL. The old saying of..."
- "It is a science site, which is why absolutely no one reading here agrees with your conclusion ..."