Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New fast and furious black hole found

Date:
February 28, 2014
Source:
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)
Summary:
Astronomers have been studying nearby galaxy M83 and have found a new superpowered small black hole, named MQ1, the first object of its kind to be studied in this much detail. Astronomers have found a few compact objects that are as powerful as MQ1, but have not been able to work out the size of the black hole contained within them until now.

Nearby spiral galaxy M83 and the MQ1 system with jets, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. The blue circle marks the position of the MQ1 system in the galaxy (shown inset).
Credit: M83 - NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (WFC3/UVIS, STScI-PRC14-04a).MQ1 inset - W. P. Blair (Johns Hopkins University) & R. Soria (ICRAR-Curtin)

A team of Australian and American astronomers have been studying nearby galaxy M83 and have found a new superpowered small black hole, named MQ1, the first object of its kind to be studied in this much detail.

Astronomers have found a few compact objects that are as powerful as MQ1, but have not been able to work out the size of the black hole contained within them until now.

The team observed the MQ1 system with multiple telescopes and discovered that it is a standard-sized small black hole, rather than a slightly bigger version that was theorised to account for all its power.

Curtin University senior research fellow Dr Roberto Soria, who is part of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and led the team investigating MQ1, said it was important to understand how stars were formed, how they evolved and how they died, within a spiral shaped galaxy like M83.

"MQ1 is classed as a microquasar -- a black hole surrounded by a bubble of hot gas, which is heated by two jets just outside the black hole, powerfully shooting out energy in opposite directions, acting like cosmic sandblasters pushing out on the surrounding gas," Dr Soria said.

"The significance of the huge jet power measured for MQ1 goes beyond this particular galaxy: it helps astronomers understand and quantify the strong effect that black hole jets have on the surrounding gas, which gets heated and swept away.

"This must have been a significant factor in the early stages of galaxy evolution, 12 billion years ago, because we have evidence that powerful black holes like MQ1, which are rare today, were much more common at the time."

"By studying microquasars such as MQ1, we get a glimpse of how the early universe evolved, how fast quasars grew and how much energy black holes provided to their environment."As a comparison, the most powerful microquasar in our galaxy, known as SS433, is about 10 times less powerful than MQ1.

Although the black hole in MQ1 is only about 100 kilometres wide, the MQ1 structure -- as identified by the Hubble Space Telescope -- is much bigger than our Solar System, as the jets around it extend about 20 light years from either side of the black hole.

Black holes vary in size and are classed as either stellar mass (less than about 70 times the mass of our Sun) or supermassive (millions of times the mass of our Sun, like the giant black hole that is located in the middle of the Milky Way).

MQ1 is a stellar mass black hole and was likely formed when a star died, collapsing to leave behind a compact mass.

The discovery of MQ1 and its characteristics is just one of the results of the comprehensive study of galaxy M83, a collection of millions of stars located 15 million light years away from Earth.

M83, the iconic Southern-sky galaxy, is being mapped with the Hubble Space and Magellan telescopes (detecting visible light), the Chandra X-ray Observatory (detecting light in X-ray frequencies), the Australia Telescope Compact Array and the Very Large Array (detecting radio waves).

ICRAR is a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia which receives funding from the State Government of Western Australia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Soria, K. S. Long, W. P. Blair, L. Godfrey, K. D. Kuntz, E. Lenc, C. Stockdale, P. F. Winkler. Super-Eddington Mechanical Power of an Accreting Black Hole in M83. Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1126/science.1248759

Cite This Page:

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). "New fast and furious black hole found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080635.htm>.
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). (2014, February 28). New fast and furious black hole found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080635.htm
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR). "New fast and furious black hole found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140228080635.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) — NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) — Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil. It has announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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