Posts Tagged ‘Black hole’

Launch of ‘Bullets’ In A Black Hole’s Jet

January 11, 2012 1 comment

Using observations from NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) satellite and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope, an international team of astronomers has identified the moment when a black hole in our galaxy launched super-fast knots of gas into space.
X-ray and radio data let astronomers pinpoint when the black hole system H1743-322 ejected powerful gas ‘bullets’ during its mid-2009 outburst. In this animation, an X-ray hot spot in the gas around the black hole produced signals of rising frequency as the spot moved closer to the black hole. When the bullets were ejected June 3, the hot spot vanished.

Supermassive black hole swallows star

August 26, 2011 Comments off


This illustration released by the journal Nature shows an artist’s conception a surge of X-rays from deep space, which resulted after a black hole tore apart a star. (Amadeo Bachar – AFP/Getty Images) For the first time ever, astronomers say they have witnessed a supermassive black hole devouring a star.

In two papers released Wednesday by the journal Nature, scientists described blasts of radiation so bright and powerful they could only be explained by a luckless, sun-sized star being torn apart by the gravitational forces of a “cosmic monster” — the supermassive black hole.

While scientists say this has happened before, this is the first time they have witnessed the event.

On March 28, a detector on the Earth-orbiting Swift observatory picked up a Read more…

Scientists discover brightest, earliest quasar

June 30, 2011 Comments off


Since quasars are so luminous, they guide astronomers studying the conditions of the cosmos following the Big Bang, the explosion believed to have created the universe 13.7 billion years ago. Researchers are constantly trying to outdo one another in their quest to see the universe as an infant. The deeper they peer into space, the further back in time they are looking. The previous record holder was a quasar that dated to when the universe was 870 million years old. The new quasar - with the tongue-twisting name ULAS J1120+0641 - was identified in images from a sky survey taken by the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope perched near the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The discovery was confirmed by other telescopes. "It's like sifting for gold. You're looking for something shiny," said lead researcher Daniel Mortlock, an astrophysicist at Imperial College in London. In an editorial accompanying the research, Chris Willott of the Canadian Astronomy Data Center called the quasar a "monster" that could upend current theories about the growth of black holes. "The existence of this quasar will be giving some theorists sleepless nights," said Willott, who was not part of the discovery team.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A team of European astronomers, glimpsing back in time to when the universe was just a youngster, says it has detected the most distant and earliest quasar yet.

Light from this brilliant, starlike object took nearly 13 billion years to reach Earth, meaning the quasar existed when the universe was only 770 million years old – a kid by cosmic standards. The discovery ranks as the brightest object ever found.

To scientists’ surprise, the black hole powering this quasar was 2 billion times more massive than the sun. How it grew so bulky so early in the universe’s history is a mystery. Black holes are known to feed on stars, gas and other matter, but their growth was always thought to be slow.

The discovery was reported in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

Since quasars are so luminous, they guide astronomers studying the conditions of Read more…