Astronomers have found the most powerful eruption in the universe using NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory. A super massive black hole generated this eruption by growing at a remarkable rate. This discovery shows the enormous appetite of large black holes, and the profound impact they have on their surroundings.
This Chandra image shows two vast cavities - each 600,000 light years in diameter - in the hot, X-ray emitting gas that pervades the galaxy cluster MS 0735.6+7421 (MS 0735 for short).
The huge eruption was seen in a Chandra image of the hot, X-ray emitting gas of a galaxy cluster called MS 0735.6+7421. Two vast cavities extend away from the super massive black hole in the clusters central galaxy. The eruption, which has lasted for more than 100 million years, has generated the energy equivalent to hundreds of millions of gamma-ray bursts.
This event was caused by gravitational energy release, as enormous amounts of matter fell toward a black hole. Most of the matter was swallowed, but some of it was violently ejected before being captured by the black hole. "I was stunned to find that a mass of about 300 million suns was swallowed," said Brian McNamara of Ohio University in Athens. "This is as large as another super massive black hole." He is lead author of the study about the discovery, which is in the January 6, 2005, issue of Nature.
Megan Watzke | EurekAlert!
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