Astronomers, for the first time, managed to catch and observe a giant black hole burping twice after munching on gas. The black hole is said to be located at the center of a faraway galaxy.
Supermassive Black Hole Caught Burping Twice
The supermassive black hole, known as an active galactic nucleus, is growing quickly in the center of a galaxy called SDSS J1354+1327 or J1354, which is about 800 million light-years away from Earth.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory caught a glimpse of the galaxy as a brilliant source of X-ray emission. This suggests that the giant black hole could be millions or even billions of times bigger than the sun, according to the astronomers.
Other telescopes that were used by the astronomers to compare data include NASA's Hubble Space Telescope or HST, the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
Using the X-ray data from Chandra and comparing them with images captured by the HST, the team discovered that the supermassive black hole is situated in the center of the galaxy and was covered by a thick veil of gas and dust.
The data also revealed that the giant black hole appeared to have devoured an enormous amount of gas and later burping a portion of them out in a strong torrent of high-energy particles.
The torrent later turned off and then switched on again about 100,000 years later.
According to Julie Comerford from the University of Colorado and leader of the study, the act of feasting and burping, taking a nap and then repeating the process once again, confirms the previous theory that black holes undergoes cycles of hibernation.
Where Did The Meals Come From?
According to the astronomers, the supermassive black hole's two separate meals came from a neighboring galaxy that is connected to the J1354 through streams of gas and stars. The streams came into being after these two galaxies collided at some point in time.
The astronomers came to the conclusion that the supermassive black hole ate "clumps of material" that came in from the neighboring galaxy to the center of J1354.
Black Hole In Milky Way's Galaxy Caught Burping Once
Back in 2010, another team of astronomers uncovered a black hole in the galaxy of our Milky Way burping at least once. The discovery was made from observations by the Fermi Gamma-ray Observatory. This team observed streams of gas, which were called Fermi bubbles.