Observe the eruption produced by a black hole after destroying a star

After ten years of research, a group of scientists has come to the conclusion that the bright flash they observed in 2005 at the core of the Arp 299-B galaxy is not an supernova explosion, as it was then considered. It is, as reflected in the recent study published in Science, a jet of material that is expelled by the supermassive black hole, located in the center of the galaxy, after tearing a star. This work has been led by Seppo Mattila, from the University of Turku and Miguel Pérez Torres, & nbsp; from the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA-CSIC), and in which 36 researchers from 26 different institutions participated, including Almudena Alonso Herrero, from the Astrobiology Center.

The authors of the work have done observations in different wavelengths. For this, they have used the Nordic Telescope (NOT), in the Canary Islands, and the Spitzer Space Telescope (NASA) to observe the object in the infrared. In addition, continuous observations were made with multiple radio telescopes, including the European VLBI network (EVN) and the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array), which combines antennas that are separated by thousands of kilometers and achieves a resolution equivalent to that of would have a telescope with the diameter of the Earth.

This continued monitoring has allowed them to see how the initial flash expanded in a specific direction, so they could discard other possible scenarios, such as the supernova explosion asserted years before.

Most galaxies harbor supermassive black holes in their central regions. These objects have a gravitational field so intense that even light can not escape. In addition, they show a typical structure, composed of a disk of gas and dust that absorbs the material from its surroundings, as well as a pair of high velocity jets of particles that emerge from the poles.

In the events of tidal disruption, in which the black hole destroys a star, half of the mass is expelled into space, while the other half is absorbed by it. In the case of the Arp 299-B galaxy, its supermassive black hole has ejected the jet of material after tearing a star with between two and six times the mass of the Sun.



Figure: recreation of the eruption produced by a supermassive black hole by tearing a star in the Arp 299-B galaxy. © Sophia Dagnello, NRAO / AUI / NSF; NASA, STScl

 

Fuente: UCC-CAB

 

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