Supermassive black hole caught 'burping' twice after colliding with nearby galaxy

James Marshall
January 13, 2018

A monster black hole has been seen belching a huge "double burp" after wolfing down stars, gas and planets sucked from a nearby galaxy. The Galaxy is known as J1354, which is around 900 million light years away from Earth.

'We know a lot of examples of black holes with single burps emanating out, but we discovered a galaxy with a supermassive black hole that has not one but two burps.

Scientists presented their research regarding the supermassive black hole burping at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The observation confirmed a theory that black holes "feast" on the gas, then "burp" to release some of it, then "nap".

Details of Comerford and her team's study were published in the The Astrophysical Journal and presented January 11 at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.

Scientists have caught a glimpse of a supermassive black hole burping out clouds of particles with high energy, and not only once but twice.

For comparison, one light-year is approximately 6 trillion miles.

     EVIDENCE This incredible space image has an arrow pointing to the'black hole burping
NASA EVIDENCE This incredible space image has an arrow pointing to the'black hole burping

Astronomers were studying SDSS J1354+132 (J1354 for short) when the Chandra observatory detected a "bright, point-like source of X-ray emissions" from its center, sure signs of a black hole. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 US research institutions that includes CU Boulder.

They tend to occur after events where the black hole has engulfed a large amount of matter, which some scientists call a "meal".

Ms Comerford stated: "There's a stream of stars and gas connecting these two galaxies".

Black holes are incredibly powerful gravity wells that absorb anything and everything that gets too close.

Supermassive black holes are millions of times heavier than the sun and are believed to be at the heart of virtually every galaxy.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said study author and University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student Rebecca Nevin. "This new burp is actually moving like a shock wave - it's coming out very fast, and so it's kind of like a sonic boom of a burp, whereas the gas to the south shows us an older burp that happens 100,000 years earlier before that newer burp". Researchers said that they could see this object having meal, nap and belch and repeating these activities.

Julie also said that this galactic burp is nothing to worry about. Astronomers saw gas jets dubbed "Fermi bubbles" that shine in the gamma-ray and X-ray portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

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