Skip to content

How the heck do you make a black hole dimmer?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/23/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Winds whip up dust which absorbs X-ray radiation, making it dimmer to observation.

Some of the fastest winds in the universe may have been detected at the heart of a distant galaxy. Winds, whipped up by a supermassive black hole may blow at 3,000 miles per second.

NGC 5548 has a supermassive black hole in its center which is dimmed by its own winds.

NGC 5548 has a supermassive black hole in its center which is dimmed by its own winds.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/23/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Black hole, dimmer, observation, winds, NGC 5548


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The universe is full of extremes, at least when compared to phenomena we are familiar with on Earth. Winds on Earth can reach a couple hundred mile per hour inside the vortex of a violent tornado, but most of us are accustomed to breezes only a few miles per hour. However, in space, winds can blow much faster.

Scientists have long predicted that winds in space, whipped up by black holes and their gravitational impact on nearby dust and gasses would be fairly strong, but the winds observed around galaxy NGC 5548, are at least five times faster than ever thought.

St. Dominic, patron saint of astronomers.

Blowing at over 3,000 miles per second, winds blowing around a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy are doing something unusually strange-they are dimming the black hole from observation.

Generally speaking, when something moves fast and interacts with other objects, it builds temperature and puts our more radiation. Indeed, around every black hole is an accretion disk, a disk of dust and gas that rings the equator of a black hole as it spirals into oblivion. Not all of the dust and gas falls in however, some of it is shot away from the poles of the black hole at velocities close to the speed of light.

As an accretion disk forms, the gasses become compressed and spin faster and faster, emitting increasingly powerful radiation, in the form of X-rays. We can detect these X-rays which allows us to pinpoint the location of a black hole.

Black holes usually emit large quantities of X-rays making them bright in X-ray observations, even t

Black holes usually emit large quantities of X-rays making them bright in X-ray observations, even though they do not emit any visible light.


However, these super-fast winds generated by the black hole can, at least in this one instance, obscure the X-rays coming from the center of NGC 5548, effectively dimming it from observation. Researchers might conclude that a black hole, so obscured by its own winds, may be less powerful than it really is.

Winds whip up strands of dust which absorb X-ray radiation, making it dimmer to observation.

In the case of NGC 5548, the black hole is 90 percent dimmer to X-ray observation than it should be.

A diagram shows how dust whipped up by the black hole

A diagram shows how dust whipped up by the black hole's winds obscures our observations, making it appear dimmer.


If the observations are correct, they could provide scientists with valuable clues as to how the supermassive black holes, thought to be at the center of every galaxy, interact with the region of space around them. Although these mysterious objects exist, why and how they got there remains unknown. We also know that galaxies do not have enough visible mass in them to hold together. Is there an unseen interaction that explains, at least in part, why galaxies don't simply fly apart?

Probably.

For now, scientists explain the cohesion within galaxies as a function of dark matter, an unseen source of mass that binds the galaxy together. Learning more about black holes may change the way we understand galaxies and the role black holes play in forming them.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Technology

Stephen Hawking leading team listening for signals from alien object today Watch

Image of Oumuamua is thought to be an asteroid, but scientists are scrutinizing it, just in case it's something more.

A mysterious object passing through our solar system will be studied today to determine if it is transmitting a message. A team of ... continue reading


Here's when you'll see the first self-driving trucks on the road Watch

Image of Tesla plans delivery of the first self-driving trucks in 2019.

The self-driving trucks are coming soon. After years of predicting their imminent arrival on a highway near you, we finally have a date, ... continue reading


Is Facebook destroying civilization? Watch

Image of Facebook is certainly destroying marriages, sleep patterns, and more.

Is Facebook destroying civilization? According to one former Facebook executive, the answer is yes. Chamath Palihapitiya, the former ... continue reading


Breakthrough: Have scientists just found a way to predict earthquakes? Watch

Image of Earthquakes are one disaster for which we still have no warning.

Scientists may have discovered a breakthrough in earthquake prediction. Researchers studying the 9.1 magnitude Tohoku quake in Japan from ... continue reading


Did the Russians really find extraterrestrial life on the International Space Station? Watch

Image of The extraterrestrial hitchhikers were discovered by Russian cosmonauts on a spacewalk aboard the International Space Station.

Russian cosmonauts claim they have found alien life hitching a ride on the International Space Station (ISS). The Russian news agency, ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.