Thursday, July 08, 2010

Black Hole Blowing Bubbles

A relatively small black hole has been spotted blowing bubbles with diameters of more than 300-1500 light years.

Robert Soria of the University College London and colleagues pored over images and data from the European Southern Observatory and Chandra X-ray Observatory, zeroing in on an unusually large remnant from a supernova explosion. Its host galaxy appears in the Sculptor constellation of Earth's southern sky, around 12.7 million light years away.

They discovered three hot spots in the x-ray emissions, all in a row, and identified the central one as the core of a black hole a few times larger than the sun. The two spots flanking the core are produced by jets colliding with interstellar gas.

A nearby star feeds the black hole, giving it energy to shoot a flood of particles out each side at near the speed of light. These jets are much more powerful than expected for a black hole of this size, blowing bubbles that expand faster than the speed of sound. The finding suggests that more of the energy spent by a black hole goes into accelerating matter - rather than emitting x-rays - than previously supposed

I don't understand any of this, but love knowing someone does.

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