Materials around the giant black hole surprised scientists

Artist rendition of the giant black hole (Credit: ESO)
Artist rendition of the giant black hole (Credit: ESO)

Main Point:

Astronomers have recently studied the materials around the supermassive black hole at the center of the NGC 3783 galaxy and found the significant amount of material above and below the doughnut shape around the black hole with different temperatures of the dust.

Published in:

Astrophysical Journal

Study Further:

Astronomers used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer in Chile to study the huge black hole, which is present tens of millions of light-years away from us in the constellation Centaurus.

That black hole has a large amount of material/dust around it in the form of doughnut and as the dust falls in it significant amount of radiation came out of the black hole.

Most important finding is that scientists have found significant amount of material above and below the doughnut shape. Moreover, they have found that the doughnut shape is hot with the temperatures of 1,300 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (700 to 1,000 degrees Celsius), but the dust that has been blown away has cooled down. This is the new thing.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to combine detailed mid-infrared observations of the cool, room-temperature dust around an AGN (active galactic nuclei) with similarly detailed observations of the very hot dust,” lead author Sebastian Hönig of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in Germany, said in a statement.

From ESO,

“These new observations may lead to a paradigm shift in the understanding of AGN. They are direct evidence that dust is being pushed out by the intense radiation. Models of how the dust is distributed and how supermassive black holes grow and evolve must now take into account this newly-discovered effect.”

Hönig concludes, “I am now really looking forward to MATISSE, which will allow us to combine all four VLT Unit Telescopes at once and observe simultaneously in the near- and mid-infrared — giving us much more detailed data.” MATISSE, a second generation instrument for the VLTI, is currently under construction.


ESO via Space


S. F. Ḧonig, M. Kishimoto, K. R. W. Tristram, M. A. Prieto, P. Gandhi, D. Asmus, R. Antonucci, L. Burtscher, W. J. Duschl, G. Weigelt. DUST IN THE POLAR REGION AS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO THE INFRARE D EMISSION OF ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEIThe Astrophysical Journal, July 10, 2013

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.