Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ESA finds a black-hole flywheel in the Milky Way

26.04.2002


Far away among the stars, in the Ara constellation of the southern sky, a small black hole is whirling space around it. If you tried to stay still in its vicinity, you couldn’t. You’d be dragged around at high speed as if you were riding on a giant flywheel.



In reality, gas falling into the black hole is whirled in that way. It radiates energy, in the form of X-rays, more intensely than it would do if space were still by tapping into the black hole’s internal energy stream.
ESA’s big X-ray detecting satellite, XMM-Newton, was specifically designed to detect this form of energy. With this finding it has chalked up another notable success in its investigations of the black holes - mysterious regions of space where gravity is so strong that light can’t escape. High speeds and intense gravity affect the energy of X-rays emitted from iron atoms very close to a black hole. By detecting the resulting spread of energies, with XMM-Newton, astronomers can diagnose the conditions there.

The weird effect of a spinning black hole on its surroundings is linked to Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, in which the fabric of space itself becomes fluid. XMM-Newton first discovered such black-hole flywheels in galaxies many millions of light-years away. Now, in findings to be formally reported next month, it sees the same thing much closer to home, in our own Galaxy, the Milky Way.



A US-European team of astronomers made the discovery last September, during an outburst from the vicinity of a black-hole candidate called XTE J1650-500. This object is about 10 times heavier than the Sun. A similar black-hole flywheel in another galaxy, already examined by XMM-Newton, is a million times more massive than that, and 4000 times more distant.

"Now we’ve seen this astonishing behaviour across a great range of distances and masses," comments Matthias Ehle, a member of the team at ESA’s Villafranca satellite station in Spain. "Our hopes that XMM-Newton would vastly improve our understanding of black holes have not been disappointed."

The astronomers describe their observations and their interpretations in a paper to be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, 10 May 2002. The lead author is Jon Miller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Monica Talevi | ESA

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>