Scientists have confirmed that they recorded the heartbeat of a supermassive black hole, still prominent over a decade after its discovery.
About The Black Hole
The black hole was discovered thanks to X-ray satellites, after years of being blocked by our Sun.
According to astronomers, the black hole in the cause has the longest-living heartbeat ever seen in such a phenomenon.
The heartbeat of a black hole is essential as it provides scientists a multitude of details about its size and structure, especially around the event horizon, which is the area around a black hole that lets nothing escape, light included.
The observations were published in Monthly Notices Of The Royal Astronomical Society by researchers from the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, and Durham University, UK.
The heartbeat of the black hole was first observed in 2007, in the middle of the REJ1034+396 galaxy, which is located nearly 600 million light-years away from our planet.
The Signal Of The Singularity
The signal from the black hole repeated hourly, and the behavior was observed in some snapshots that were taken before satellite observations were blocked by the Sun nine years ago.
Surprisingly, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray satellite managed to re-observe the black hole, and, much to the scientists’ surprise, its heartbeat was still detectable.
The period between pulses is a crucial element to decrypting some of the black hole’s mysteries. Scientists are eager to learn more about it since it’s an extremely rare happening.
According to Professor Chris Done, from the Durham University’s Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, “the main idea for how this heartbeat is formed is that the inner parts of the accretion disc are expanding and contracting.”
“The only other system we know which seems to do the same thing is a 100,000 times smaller stellar-mass black hole in our Milky Way, fed by a binary companion star, with correspondingly smaller luminosities and timescales,” he added.
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