Black Hole transmits radio broadcasts while consuming gasoline

Black holes are counterintuitive things. They have such a strong gravity that they absorb anything that comes near them, even light, but they can still glow brilliantly in certain wavelengths due to the emissions emitted at their event horizons. Astronomers have captured incredible emissions from a monster black hole with a mass equivalent to 55 million suns, which emits radio flares large enough to cover a portion of the sky the length of 16 moons.

The radio broadcasts originate from the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Centaurus A galaxy, located 12 million light years away, which engulfs gas. When the black hole consumes this gas, it ejects matter at extremely high speeds, resulting in “radio bubbles” that grow and expand in space.

Centaurus A is a giant elliptical active galaxy located 12 million light years away.
Centaurus A is a giant elliptical active galaxy located 12 million light years away. At its heart is a black hole with a mass of 55 million suns. This image shows the galaxy at radio wavelengths, revealing vast lobes of plasma that extend well beyond the visible galaxy, which occupies only a small area in the center of the image. Ben McKinley, ICRAR / Curtin and Connor Matherne, Louisiana State University

“These radio waves come from material sucked into the supermassive black hole in the middle of the galaxy,” lead author Dr Benjamin McKinley of the International Center for Radio Astronomical Research (ICRAR) explained in a report. declaration. “It forms a disc around the black hole, and as matter tears apart as it approaches the black hole, powerful jets form on either side of the disc, ejecting most of the material into space. , at distances probably greater than a million light years.

“Previous radio observations could not handle the extreme brightness of the jets and the details of the larger area surrounding the galaxy were distorted, but our new image overcomes these limitations.”

Centaurus A is a giant elliptical active galaxy located 12 million light years away.
This composite image shows the Centaurus A galaxy and the surrounding intergalactic space at several different wavelengths. Radio plasma is displayed in blue and appears to interact with hot X-ray emitting gas (orange) and cold neutral hydrogen (purple). Clouds emitting Alpha (red) are also displayed above the main optic portion of the galaxy which lies between the two brightest radio spots. Connor Matherne, Louisiana State University (Optical / Halpha), Kraft et al. (x-rays), Struve et al. (HI), Ben McKinley, ICRAR / Curtin. (Radio)

One of the reasons for studying Centaurus A is that it is the closest radiogalaxy to our Milky Way, making it an ideal target for research. “We can learn a lot from Centaurus A in particular, just because it’s so close and we can see it in so much detail,” Dr McKinley said. “Not just at radio wavelengths, but also at all other wavelengths of light. In this research, we were able to combine radio observations with optical and x-ray data, to help us better understand the physics of these supermassive black holes.

The research is published in the journal Nature astronomy.


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