A monster black hole acts like a pump in a cosmic fountain, spurting and siphoning off matter, according to unprecedented new observations.
The researchers for the first time detected a cold black gas penetrating a black hole in the same system. This proves that both events occur in a large process, ESO (European Southern Observatory) officials said in a statement. ESO is a major partner of two instruments that collected the data from this study.
According to NASA, every major galaxy, such as the Milky Way, has a supermassive black hole at its center. According to the study, the cold gas that flies away from the center eventually falls back to the center of the galaxy, where the gravitational pull of a black hole keeps the torrential process going. [This Trippy Simulation Shows How Monster Black Holes Glow Before They Collide]
The new work focuses on the observation of a single celestial case, but the team has speculated that the fountain phenomenon might be common, officials said. 39 National Observatory of Radioastronomy (NRAO) in another communiqué. On behalf of North America, NRAO runs and operates a radio telescope site called ALMA, which has allowed this research to be observed. The findings could help "chart the fundamental processes of galaxy evolution," said researchers in their study, published Sept. 17 in the Astrophysical Journal.
The huge black hole observed in the study is relatively close to the Earth. It overflows a billion light-years away, in the constellation Aquarius, into an elliptical galaxy at the center of the galaxy Abell 2597 cluster.
The team performed a combined analysis of Abell 2597 using several instruments. Data from MUSE, the multi-unit spectroscopic explorer located on the very large ESO telescope in Chile, revealed hot and ionized gas projections in the central galaxy. And ALMA, ESO's large Atacama millimeter / submillimeter network (also in Chile), discovered clusters of icy molecular gas at the same location, falling into the black hole.
"The unique look here is a very detailed coupled analysis of the source, using ALMA and MUSE data," said Grant Tremblay, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researcher and lead author of the new work. , in an ESO statement. "Both facilities form an incredibly powerful combination."
The observations of these facilities, combined with an ultradeep observation by NASA's X-ray Chandra observatory, revealed in detail the heated areas of this fountain.
The researchers painted a complete picture of the action at the heart of the galaxy. Cold gas clouds falling below 260 degrees Celsius flow to the monster's black hole. This activity feeds fast jets that spit plasma, a burning ionized gas. Once the plasma has come out into the void of space, it cools.
But as the jets do not move faster than the exit speed of the galaxy, the cooling blocks fall back to the center up to the black hole – as the researchers said, "keeping the fountain alive ".