A black hole near the Milky Way


About 12 million light-years away from Earth, a galaxy neighboring the Milky Way is undergoing some changes, and the culprit is a “hungry” black hole with a mass equal to 55 million suns. For hundreds of millions of years, this massive hole has been feeding on gas and dust falling from its surrounding galaxy, the Centaurus Galaxy, then burning matter again at nearly the speed of light, causing “radio bubbles” to grow over hundreds of millions of years. With the help of a heavy-duty radio telescope, the Murchison Widefield Array in Australia, astronomers have captured the black hole’s massive radio emissions from discarded material emanating from its center.

The scientific team says that if we could see the explosion with the naked eye from here on Earth, it would be the size of 16 full moons placed side by side in the sky.

The scientists published a paper in which they shared an image of the glow, which was generated from radio wave data, in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“We can learn a lot from the Centaurus galaxy in particular, just because it is so close and we can see it in such detail,” Benjamin McKinley, of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research in Perth, western Australia, an astronomer at Australian Curtin University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. ».

The absorbed material begins to form a disk around the supermassive black hole. This accretion disk looks very similar to the rings around Saturn, and when pieces of matter begin to separate from each other as they approach the black hole, powerful jets form on both sides of the disk, which leads to the ejection of most of the material into space, about distances that may exceed a million light years.





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