Scientists captured the super-massive black hole while burping


While even light can not escape the pull of one of these gravity wells, blacks holes do, very occasionally, "burp" back out chunks of half-consumed gas.

The findings show that, millions of years ago, the black hole appears to have consumed large amounts of gas before ejecting huge jets of high energy particles in a cosmic "burp".

While astronomers have predicted this type of event before, it has never been observed directly. This discovery is proof that black holes can be active and inactive at different periods of time. One was Hubble Space Telescope, and another one was Chandra X-ray Observatory.

"We are seeing this object feast, burp and nap, and then feast, burp and nap once again, which theory had predicted", says study lead Julie Comerford.

"'Right now, our galaxy's supermassive black hole is firmly in the nap phase of the feast-burp-nap cycle, but it's just waiting for its next meal to come along", Comerford added. The Apache Point facility is owned by the Astrophysical Research Consortium, a group of 10 USA research institutions that includes CU Boulder.

There is also an evidence that the black hole of the Milky Way belched as well maybe once.

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The explanation for these gas-feeding events lies in a companion galaxy, which had previously collided with J1354.

This may not even be all that rare of an occurrence, if the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy named "SDSS J1354+1327" can be taken as a typical example of these hungry monsters. In the clearest photo of the event, the beginning of a massive burp is seen shooting out of the upper left of the black hole, while the remnants of an older burp can be spotted still dissipating below it.

With supermassive black holes, the gas that they accrete in space generates a lot of electromagnetic radiation as it becomes increasingly dense and is pulled towards the event horizon. This happens especially if the main feed of the black hole is gas.

"This galaxy really caught us off guard", said Rebecca Nevin, a study co-author and doctoral student at CU Boulder. Now that researchers have discovered those belches, it helps them determine the pace of those processes.

Even our Milky Way galaxy has had at least one burp, said Comerford.

'If our solar system was very close to the black hole, though, we'd be fried'.