HEIC: Hubble Discovers Mysterious Black Hole Disc

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HEIC: Hubble Discovers Mysterious Black Hole Disc

Post by bystander » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:40 pm

Hubble Discovers Mysterious Black Hole Disc
ESA Hubble Science Release | 2019 Jul 11
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed an unexpected thin disc of material encircling a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away.

The presence of the black hole disc in such a low-luminosity active galaxy has astronomers surprised. Black holes in certain types of galaxies such as NGC 3147 are considered to be starving as there is insufficient gravitationally captured material to feed them regularly. It is therefore puzzling that there is a thin disc encircling a starving black hole that mimics the much larger discs found in extremely active galaxies.

Of particular interest, this disc of material circling the black hole offers a unique opportunity to test Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity. The disc is so deeply embedded in the black hole’s intense gravitational field that the light from the gas disc is altered, according to these theories, giving astronomers a unique peek at the dynamic processes close to a black hole. ...

The disc’s material was measured by Hubble to be whirling around the black hole at more than 10% of the speed of light. At such extreme velocities, the gas appears to brighten as it travels toward Earth on one side, and dims as it speeds away from our planet on the other. This effect is known as relativistic beaming. Hubble’s observations also show that the gas is embedded so deep in a gravitational well that light is struggling to escape, and therefore appears stretched to redder wavelengths. The black hole’s mass is around 250 million times that of the Sun. ...

Hubble Uncovers Black Hole Disk That Shouldn't Exist
NASA | GSFC | STScI | HubbleSite | 2019 Jul 11

HST Unveils a Compact Mildly Relativistic Broad-Line
Region in the Candidate True Type 2 NGC 3147
~ Stefano Bianchi et al
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