Scientists Reveal Secrets to Belching a Black Hole

Researchers found new information about the belching caused by black holes  after new captures of the galaxy cluster MS0735.


The Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in the United States has revealed new information about mysterious radio bubbles surrounding a supermassive black hole in the galaxy cluster MS0735 .

“We are seeing one of the most energetic outbursts ever seen from a supermassive black hole . This is what happens when you power up a black hole and it violently ejects a gigantic amount of energy,” says Jack Orlowski-Scherer, lead author of the research as a student. from the University of Pennsylvania and is now a researcher at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

space burps

Supermassive black holes lie deep in the centers of huge galaxies at the heart of galaxy clusters. The plasma-filled atmospheres of galaxy clusters are incredibly hot (around 50 million degrees Celsius), but these high temperatures usually cool over time, allowing new stars to form. Sometimes the black hole reheats the gas around it through violent outbursts from its center, preventing cooling and star formation, in a process called feedback.

These powerful jets carve immense cavities within the cluster’s hot medium, pushing that hot gas further from the cluster’s center and replacing it with radio-emitting bubbles. Displacement of such a large volume of gas requires an enormous amount of energy (several percent of the total thermal energy in the cluster gas), and understanding where this energy comes from is of great interest to astrophysicists. By learning more about what is left when these cavities are filled, astronomers can begin to deduce what caused them in the first place.

The team of astronomers used the MUSTANG-2 receiver on the GBT to image MS0735 using the Sunyaev-Zeldovich (SZ) effect, a subtle distortion of cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation due to scattering of hot electrons. in the cluster gas. For context, the CMB was emitted 380,000 years after the Big Bang, and is the afterglow of the origin of our universe 13.8 billion years ago. Around 90 GHz, where MUSTANG-2 observes, the SZ effect signal mainly measures thermal pressure.

“With the power of MUSTANG-2, we can see inside these cavities and begin to determine precisely what they are full of and why they don’t collapse under pressure,” said Tony Mroczkowski, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) who was part of this new investigation.

These new findings are the deepest high-fidelity SZ images yet of the thermodynamic state of cavities in a galaxy cluster, reinforcing previous discoveries that at least part of the supporting pressure in the cavities is due to non-thermal sources, such as relativistic particles, cosmic rays, and turbulence, as well as a small contribution from magnetic fields. “We knew this was an exciting system when we studied the radio core and lobes at low frequencies, but only now are we starting to see the full picture,” explains co-author Tracy Clarke, an astronomer at the US Naval Research Laboratory.

Unlike previous research, the new images produced by GBT consider the possibility that the pressure support within the bubbles may be more nuanced than previously thought, mixing thermal and non-thermal components. In addition to the radio observations, the team incorporated existing X-ray observations from NASA ‘s Chandra X-ray Observatory , which provide a complementary view of the gas seen by MUSTANG-2.

Future observations across multiple frequencies may more accurately establish the nature of how exotic the black hole eruption is . “This work will help us better understand the physics of galaxy clusters and the cooling flow feedback problem that has concerned many of us for some time,” adds Orlowski-Scherer. (Europe Press)