The Hubble Space Telescope, operated by NASA and ESA, is fantastic for detecting objects that reside in the confines of space. Black holes, which are actually impossible to see, reveal their position thanks to the galaxies that often surround them, but a new poll has revealed a black hole with a disk of material that, according to what we think we know about the holes blacks, I should not even be there.
The black hole lies at the heart of the galaxy NGC 3147, a spiral galaxy that is 130 million light years from Earth. Because of the state of the galaxy, researchers would have guessed that the black hole was essentially starved, but the presence of a material disc throws that assumption into question.
Active galaxies that feed supermassive black holes at their centers often produce a ring of debris that surrounds the black hole. When the material gets too close, it swallows, but in less active galaxies, the black holes in its core do not have the gravitational power to continuously extract the material from the surrounding galaxy.
NGC 3147 should be one of those galaxies, and scientists assumed that their black hole was starved for matter before they discovered that the material disk accelerated around the center at more than 10 percent of the speed of light. That's the kind of thing that scientists hope to see surrounding a black hole that is feeding on matter in the heart of a much more active galaxy.
"The type of disk we see is a reduced quasar that we did not expect to exist," said Stefano Bianchi, first author of a new article on the black hole. Monthly notices from the Royal Astronomical Societyhe said in a statement. "It's the same kind of disk we see in objects that are 1000 or even 100 000 times brighter." The predictions of current models for very weak active galaxies clearly failed. "
In the future, the team plans to look at similar galaxies to determine if this observation is representative of a trend or just a strange anomaly.