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?
- M60-UCD1: Tiny Galaxy, Supermassive Black Hole
- Life After The 125 GeV Higgs: What Is Left Of Two-Higgs Doublet Models
- Ig Nobel Prizes 2014: From Jesus On Toast To Baby Feces In Sausages
- Longer Telomeres And Genetic Determinant For Melanoma Risk
- Witness The Singularity AI Nanotech Co-Evolutionary Merger
- Watching Neurons Learn: Learning New Ideas Is More Difficult
- In A Global Warming Future, Autumn Foliage Will Come Later, Last Longer
- "If being very restrained brings you to write stuff as AFAIK he has never talked about the gaps..."
- "Hi Mephisto,we do have a similar problem to the one you mention in high-energy physics - when we..."
- "Concerning his political opinions, Lubos is a deluded annoying crank, but credit has to be given..."
- "Right on, and I have written articles on that issue in the past - by preventing uptake in wealthy..."
- "Genetic algorithms would be a step back toward (simulation of) evolution in isolated testbeds (computer)..."