Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Voracious black holes hide their appetite in dusty galaxies

05.08.2005


A UK-led team of astronomers reports today (August 4th) in Nature that they have tracked down an elusive population of black holes growing rapidly hidden behind clouds of dust. Their results suggest that most black hole growth takes place in dusty galaxies, solving astronomer’s headaches, as until now, the cosmic x-ray background suggested the existence of more growing black holes than they could find.



Growing black holes, known as quasars, are some of the brightest objects in the Universe and are seen by the light emitted as gas and dust spiral into the black hole. Quasars are situated in the inner-most regions of galaxies and can consume the equivalent mass of between ten and a thousand stars in one year! Astronomers believe that all quasars are surrounded by a dusty ring which hides them from sight on Earth in about half of cases.

However, examining the cosmic x-ray background, which is made up primarily of the emissions from quasars, astronomers realised that there should be many more obscured quasars than currently known. Objects surrounded by dust are hard to see with visible light, so the astronomers looked at infrared wavelengths, which are less likely to be reflected away. Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope’s First Look Data, they were able to find a new population of obscured quasars. The new quasars have no spectra that can be seen and are thought to be hidden behind the dust of the galaxy itself rather than just a dust ring. The presence of lots of dust in a galaxy indicates that stars are still forming there. The researchers found 21 examples of these lost quasars in a relatively small patch of sky. All of the objects were confirmed as quasars by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array radio telescope, New Mexico, and the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council’s William Hershel Telescope on La Palma.


Alejo Martinez-Sansigre from the University of Oxford explains "We were missing a large population of obscured quasars, which had been inferred from studies at X-ray frequencies. This newly discovered population is large enough to account for the X-ray background, and now we wish to find out why there are more obscured quasars than unobscured ones".

From their study, the team believes that there are more quasars hidden by dust than not and that most black holes grow in short, efficient bursts at the heart of growing galaxies.

Professor Richard Wade, Chief Executive of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council which supports the University of Oxford Astrophysics group said “The new population of Quasars suggest that throughout cosmic history most black holes grow in the heart of dusty active galaxies with stars still forming.”

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/hidden_quasars.asp
http://www.pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Arctic melt ponds form when meltwater clogs ice pores

24.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Synthetic nanoparticles achieve the complexity of protein molecules

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>