Astronomers witness black hole dragging spacetime

Astronomers witness black hole dragging spacetime

Astronomers believe that the material is wobbling so fast because the rotating black hole's gravity is so powerful that it is dragging nearby space along with it causing distortions in the disk.

We seem to see jets anywhere in the universe where there are inflows of matter onto a central object such as a black hole. The jets rapidly rotate as it fire from the black hole toward different directions, just about minutes apart.

The global team of astronomers, which included Dr Alex Tetarenko working at the East Asian Observatory in Hilo, published their findings today in the journal Nature.

This "wobble" is supposed to be a steady stream of ejected material but in this case, the black hole is spitting out interjected blobs of plasma.

As the disk inches closer to the black hole becoming denser and hotter, the black hole and inner parts of the disk start to launch material pieces away from the accretion disk in what scientists call a "wobble".

The black hole itself is rotating and the gravitational pull is so strong, it's actually pulling nearby space and time around with it.

They were changing direction very quickly-over no more than a couple of hours, they said.

The inner part of the accretion disk was precessing and effectively pulling the jets around with it, Associate Professor Miller-Jones said.

When Associate Professor Miller-Jones and his team studied the black hole, they saw its jets behaving in a way never seen before. There, a black hole and a star a little smaller than the Sun are locked in a close orbit around each other. "Only in this case, the wobble is caused by Einstein's general theory of relativity", Miller-Jones said.

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V404 Cygni was first identified as a black hole in 1989 when it released a big outburst of jets and radiation. Located in the Cygnus constellation about 7,800 light-years from Earth, the cosmic pair was dubbed V404 Cygni.

Tamara Davis, an astrophysicist at the University of Queensland who was not involved in the discovery, said the resolution telescopes could now achieve - and the new ways they are testing how gravity works - are "truly impressive". While studying journalism at Washington State University, Ari found a passion for finding engaging stories. Normally, they use long exposures. According to the study, V404 Cygni's accretion disk is 10 million kilometres wide, and the inner few thousand kilometres was puffed up and wobbling during the bright outburst.

But for large black holes, like the supermassive objects at the cores of galaxies like the Milky Way, which weigh tens of millions if not billions of times the mass of a star, crossing the event horizon would be uneventful.

However, "These jets were changing so fast that in a four-hour image we saw just a blur", said Alex Tetarenko, a recent Ph.D graduate from the University of Alberta and now an East Asian Observatory Fellow working in Hawaii.

This allowed us to make detailed images of the jets, zooming in to a region roughly the same size as our Solar System. But the jets from this black hole were changing so rapidly that we only saw a blur - as if we were trying to take a picture of a waterfall with a one-second shutter speed.

According to scientists, the most unique feature of V404 Cygni is the way in which it spits out matter.

Black holes are odd objects in the universe that get their name from the fact that nothing can escape their gravity, not even light.

To come up with a valuable understanding of what really happened, the scientists captured about 103 individual photos, lasting about 70 seconds each, and then put them all together.

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