Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yale Astronomer Explores The Final Moments Of Merging Black Holes

Date:
February 7, 2002
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A slow dance lasting up to 10 million years between a super-massive black hole and a smaller one culminates in a violent outflow of energy, possibly powering the bright light known as a quasar, a Yale researcher and collaborator have found.

New Haven, Conn. – A slow dance lasting up to 10 million years between a super-massive black hole and a smaller one culminates in a violent outflow of energy, possibly powering the bright light known as a quasar, a Yale researcher and collaborator have found. "Ours is the first detailed calculations of how the merger of these two super-massive black holes proceeds," said Priyamvada Natarajan, assistant professor of astronomy at Yale. "This second phase, the merger, takes a few million years. And then there is a huge outflow of gas, and the quasar shines very brightly. It’s a violent, very high energy event."

Related Articles


She and Philip Armitage, lead author of the article to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, and assistant professor at the University of Colorado, arrived at their conclusion via a theoretical, numerical calculation conducted on a super computer. The calculation allows the researchers to understand how the configuration would change over time.

Every galaxy has a massive black hole at its center that is more than one million times the mass of the sun. The black hole is detected, and its size determined, by the gravitational effect it has on the stars moving nearby. The larger the black hole, the stronger the pull of gravity, the faster the stars move.

A black hole gobbles up gas from what is known as an accretion disc, which is the disc of material that is spiraling around the black hole. Enroute to the black hole, the gas from the disc emits X-rays as its inner edge disappears into the gravitational field of the hole.

Energy released as gas falls into the black hole powers quasars, quasi-stellar objects, that are very bright and inhabit extremely distant galaxies. What is not known, and what the researchers attempted to deduce, is how the quasars are likely to be turned on and off as a consequence of the merger of two super-massive black holes.

Once the two super-massive black holes become embedded in the accretion disc, they sit quietly at first, and then slowly their orbit shrinks, causing them to move closer together, Natarajan said.

"What is interesting during this phase is the critical separation stage when the black holes get close enough and all the gas trapped between them immediately rushes to the more massive black hole, leading to a brief increase in brightness coupled with an energetic outflow of gas at very high speeds," she said.

Natarajan said the next step in the research is to try to understand the final "hiss" when there is an outflow of energy following the merger of the black holes.

"Our model predicts that both of those phenomena should happen simultaneously with the final merger of the black hole," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Yale Astronomer Explores The Final Moments Of Merging Black Holes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020207075515.htm>.
Yale University. (2002, February 7). Yale Astronomer Explores The Final Moments Of Merging Black Holes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020207075515.htm
Yale University. "Yale Astronomer Explores The Final Moments Of Merging Black Holes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020207075515.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

Spokesman: 'NORAD Ready to Track Santa'

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that NORAD is ready to track Santa Claus as he delivers gifts next week. Speaking tongue-in-cheek, he said if Santa drops anything off his sleigh, "we've got destroyers out there to pick them up." (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

NASA's Planet-Finding Kepler Mission Isn't Over After All

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) More than a year after NASA declared the Kepler spacecraft broken beyond repair, scientists have figured out how to continue getting useful data. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Evidence of Life on Mars? NASA Rover Finds Methane, Organic Chemicals

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 16, 2014) NASA's Mars Curiosity rover finds methane in the Martian atmosphere and organic chemicals in the planet's soil, the latest hint that Mars was once suitable for microbial life. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins