A recent study carried out by a group of astronomers from the University of Leicester, in the UK, headed by Professor Ken Pounds, reports that the scientists were able to observe matter falling into a black hole.
While it is a very well-known fact that at the center of virtually every galaxy in the Universe a supermassive black hole lurks absorbing all the matter surrounding it, including stellar dust, gases, and any space objects the ventures in its close vicinity. However, every time a black hole suck matter, it’s brighter than usual.
According to the scientists, the orbit of the matter around a black hole is considered to be in line with the black hole’s rotation sense, but the astronomers couldn’t find enough evidence of this kind of movement. That until now when the scientists at the University of Leicester, in the UK, observed matter falling into black hole.
Astronomers detected matter falling into a black hole and learned more about this type of interaction
Until this recent study came out, it was not entirely clear how misaligned rotation of matter around a black hole could influence the absorption of the space objects into that respective black hole.
Professor Ken Pounds and his co-workers used the ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory to analyze the PG1211+143 Seyfert Galaxy in X-ray spectra. This Seyfert Galaxy is located at about 1 billion light-years away from the Earth, somewhere in the constellation known as Coma Berenices.
So, they were able to observe matter falling into a black hole at the tremendous velocity of 30% of the speed of light or about 100,000 km per second. However, according to the researchers, the gas surrounding this supermassive black hole has no rotation around the black hole even though it’s pretty close to the event horizon.
“We were able to follow an Earth-sized clump of matter for about a day, as it was pulled towards the black hole, accelerating to a third of the velocity of light before being swallowed up by the hole,” said Professor Pounds.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.