The Bright Flash Identified in February was a Black Hole Jet headed straight for Earth

The Bright Flash Identified in February was a Black Hole Jet headed straight for Earth
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A bright glow detected in February was a black hole jet aimed straight at Earth Image for article titled

Illustration: Carl Knox – OzGrav, ARC Center of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Exploration, Swinburne University of Technology

On February 11th, astronomers saw a distant flash of light that appeared to come from a source as bright as a quadrillion suns. They alerted other scientists to the event, and several telescopes quickly focused on the rotation. Now two teams of researchers have identified its source: a black hole frolicking in the distant universe.

Black holes are dark; their gravitational pull is so strong that even light cannot escape their event horizons. In this case, the bright glow was caused by how energetically the black hole consumed its food, a former star very close to the predatory compact object. The details of this bright festival have been published in newspapers today Nature and Natural Astronomy.

Artist's impression of a star being spaghettized by a black hole with jets on either side.

“This particular event was 100 times more powerful than the most powerful gamma-ray bursts,” Dheeraj Pasham, an MIT astrophysicist and lead author of the Nature Astronomy book, said in a press release. “It was an extraordinary thing.”

Every so often, a failed star falls under the inescapable attraction of a black hole. A spinning black hole rips off a metaphorical member of a star until the star’s material becomes superheated spinning around the black hole. These feeds can provide a lot of light. AT 2022cmc is the brightest and most distant tidal disruption event yet known; its source is a supermassive black hole about 8.5 billion light-years away.

A black hole that spans more than half of the universe spews out matter at speeds close to the speed of light

Tidal disruption events are useful for astrophysicists; they can detect how fast black holes spin and the ratio of hippopotamus objects are fed. They can also reveal how supermassive black holes grow and form the galaxies that host them.

Sometimes—and astronomers now think they can know for sure—a black hole spews superheated material into space. Energetic jets accelerate to almost the speed of light and can be very difficult to see unless they are headed directly for us. This was the case for the 2022cmc.

Because the black hole’s jet is directed toward Earth, it appears brighter to us than it would otherwise. This helped the two research teams to observe the light source despite the unusual distance.

Twenty-one telescopes around the world have seen the jet at X-ray, radio, optical and ultraviolet wavelengths. This is the first time that wavelet disruption has been seen at optical wavelengths, the region of the electromagnetic spectrum visible to the human eye.

Illustration of a black hole surrounded by superheated material and spewing relativistic jets.

X-rays changed dramatically during the observations. The researchers suspect that this may be due to a period when the black hole collects (i.e. collects) a ton of material around itself.

Comparing the light from this event with other bright events in space, the teams determined that the only possible culprit was a jet-tide disruption event.

“The universe is really full of surprises, and we have to be ready to catch them,” Andreoni said. “Developing more tools and new technology is certainly a path to discovery, but also perseverance and the desire to be excited by the sky when we least expect it.”

Pasham added that other sky surveys in the future may detect more tidal disturbances, which can then be checked by space observatories such as the Webb Telescope.

Tools like the LSST Camera – it will the world’s largest digital camera When installed at the Rubin observatory in Chile, it will be an excellent source for regularly imaging the night sky and all the dynamic phenomena in it.

More: See: First View of Our Galaxy’s Central Black Hole

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