Astronomers found that the X-ray flares coming from black holes are linked to the coronas – which are sources of highly energetic particles – of the supermassive black holes.
Dan Wilkins, of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, said that this was the very first time astronomer had been able to tie the supermassive black hole flares to the launching of the corona. This may shed some light on why black holes are more powerful than many of the brightest astronomical objects (or celestial object) in the Universe.
Light cannot escape from a supermassive black hole. However, black holes are usually surrounded by an extremely hot, fast-moving structure formed by diffused material in orbital motion. which is able to emit light – called ‘accretion disk’.
Almost all galaxies, including our own – the Milky Way – have a supermassive black hole at their core. These objects can have a mass as big as that of hundreds of millions, or even billions of suns.
Markarian 335 (Mrk 335), a supermassive black hole that is 324 million light-years away from Earth, was observed and studied by Wilkins and his colleagues.
NASA’s Swift satellite spotted a glowing flare coming from Markarian 335 in September 2014. After that occurrence NASA used the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array spacecraft (NuSTAR) to further examine the black hole in X-ray light.
The astronomers found – based on the observations – that the corona of Markarian 335 gathered inward and then launched upwards, away from the supermassive black hole much like a jet, and then collapsed.
“We still don’t know how jets in black holes form, but it’s an exciting possibility that this black hole’s corona was beginning to form the base of a jet before it collapsed,” Wilkins said.
Fiona Harrison, professor of physics and astronomy in the Space Radiation Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and principal investigator of NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), said that new information about the structure and size of the black hole may soon be gathered.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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