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Hubble discovers a mysterious black disc



  Hubble discovers mysterious black disc
Artistic representation of the peculiar thin disc of material orbiting a supermassive black hole in the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, 130 million light-years away. Picture credits: ESA / Hubble, M. Kornmesser

Astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope of NASA / ESA to observe an unexpected thin slice of material surrounding a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, which is 130 million light-years away.

The presence of the black disk in such an active galaxy with low luminosity has surprised astronomers. Black holes in certain types of galaxies, such as NGC 3147, are said to be starving, as gravity-trapped material is insufficient to supply them regularly. It is therefore surprising that there is a thin slice surrounding a starving black hole that mimics the much larger slices of extremely active galaxies.

Of particular interest is that this disk of material encircling the black hole offers a unique opportunity to test Albert Einstein's theories of relativity. The disk is so deeply embedded in the intense gravitational field of the black hole that the light of the gas disk is altered according to these theories, allowing astronomers a unique view of the dynamic processes near a black hole.

"We have never seen the impact of both general and special relativity in the visible light so clearly," said AURA team member Marco Chiaberge for ESA, STScI and Johns Hopkins Univeristy Black Hole for more than 10% the speed of light. At such extreme speeds, the gas appears to brighten as it approaches one side of the earth, and it darkens as it moves away from our planet on the other side. This effect is called relativistic rays. Hubble's observations also show that the gas is so deeply embedded in a gravitational hole that the light is difficult to escape and therefore extends to redder wavelengths. The mass of the black hole is about 250 million times that of the sun.

  Hubble discovers mysterious black hole disk
A Hubble space telescope image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147 appears alongside the illustration of an artist of the supermassive black hole in the core of the galaxy. Image credits: Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, S. Bianchi (Roma Tre University), A. Laor (Technical-Israeli Institute of Technology) and M. Chiaberge (ESA, STScI and JHU); Illustration: NASA, ESA and A. Feild and L. Hustak (STScI)

"This is a fascinating view of a disk that is very close to a black hole, so that the speed and intensity of the force of gravity have an impact on how we see the photons of light," said the lead author of the series Study, Stefano Bianchi, from the Università degli Studi Roma Tre in Italy.

To study the matter swirling deep in this disk, researchers used the instrument STIS (Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph). This diagnostic tool divides the light of an object into its many individual wavelengths to determine the speed, temperature and other properties of the object with very high precision. STIS was an integral part of the effective observation of the dimly lit area around the black hole and blocked the brilliant light of the galaxy.

Astronomers initially selected this galaxy to validate accepted models for low-energy active galaxies: those with malnourished black holes. These models predict that material slices should form when a large amount of gas is trapped by the heavy gravity of a black hole, then emitting much light and producing a brilliant beacon called quasar.

"The type of disc we see is a" diminished quasar we did not expect, "Bianchi explained," It's the same kind of disc we see in objects that are 1000 or even 100,000 times are brighter. The predictions of current models for very weak active galaxies have clearly failed. "

  Hubble discovers mysterious disk with black holes
NASA, ESA, S. Bianchi (University of Rome), A. Laor (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology ) and M. Chiaberge (ESA, STScI and JHU)

The team hopes to use Hubble to search for other very compact discs near low-black black holes in similar active galaxies. .


Hubble watches a tiny galaxy with a big heart


Further information:
Stefano Bianchi et al. HST reveals a compact, slightly relativistic wide-line region in the candidate True Type 2 NGC 3147, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1093 / mnrasl / slz080

Provided by
ESA / Hubble Information Center




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Hubble discovers mysterious black disc (2019, July 11)
retrieved on July 11, 2019
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