Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World's First Glimpse of Black Hole Launchpad

28.09.2012
The current issue of Science Express, the online advance publication of the journal, features a paper by the Event Horizon telescope team – a collaboration which includes Perimeter Associate Faculty member Avery Broderick – that may shed light on the origin of the bright jets given off by some black holes.

In a world first, the team has been able to look at a distant black hole and resolve the area where its jets are launched from. This is the first empirical evidence to support the connection between black hole spin and black hole jets that has been long suspected on theoretical grounds.


Many galaxies, including our own Milky Way, have a huge black hole lurking at their cores. In about 10 percent of such galaxies, the hole gives off huge, tight streams of electrons and other sub-atomic particles traveling at nearly the speed of light. These powerful jets can extend for hundreds of thousands of light years. They can be so bright that they outshine the rest of the galaxy combined.

And yet, little is known about how such jets are formed. The Event Horizon team, in their current paper, is working to find out more. By combining and comparing data from three radio telescopes, they are beginning to image the base of such a jet – its launchpad – for the first time.

The team, coordinated by Shep Doeleman at MIT's Haystack Observatory, used the Event Horizon telescope, which is actually a network of three radio telescopes spread out over the Earth. The subject of their study is M87, a giant elliptical galaxy just over 50 million light years from our own.

That is close as galaxies go, but a long way away considering that the horizon of the black hole the team imaged is about the same size as a single solar system. It is as if the telescope could make out a poppy seed from across a continent or spot a softball on the moon. "These are some of the highest resolutions ever accessed in the history of science," says Broderick.

Broderick sums up the problem the team tackled: "With black holes, stuff is supposed to go in, and yet here we see all this stuff coming out with huge energies. Where does that energy come from?"

There are two possibilities. The first is that a black hole itself is a great reservoir of energy – a spinning black hole has a huge amount of rotational energy that the jets might tap. The second possibility is that the energy might come from some accretion process – the accretion disk is the dusty spiral of stuff falling into the black hole and the physics of accretion is not yet well understood.

With the new data coming in from M87, theorists like Broderick can start to tell the difference between these models of hole-driven jets and accretion-driven jets. The image is not yet sharp – it is trickling in pixel by pixel – but that, says Broderick, "is enough to tell the difference between your mother and your daughter." With images like the one the team is working on, we can begin to narrow in on the origin of ultrarelativistic jets.

"The first thing we learned is that the launching region is quite small," says Broderick. The jets are coming from quite close to the black hole's event horizon: the point of no return where even the light from objects tumbling into the black hole is lost. While this is not quite enough to rule out the idea that jets might be powered by accretion physics, it is clear that energy is coming either from the black hole or from the accretion processes happening right next to the black hole.

"We are now beginning to see that spin is playing a role in jet production," says Broderick. "That is, not only can we say that the jets originate near the black hole, but because the emission region is so small, it must be coming from a rotating black hole."

"The black hole is really the engine that drives the jet," he adds. "It's an extraordinary thing."

Further exploration:
http://www.eventhorizontelescope.org/
For further information, contact:
RJ Taylor
External Relations Specialist
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
519-569-7600 ext. 5371
rtaylor[at]perimeterinstitute[dot]ca
About Perimeter Institute
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, non-profit, scientific research organization working to advance our understanding of physical laws and develop new ideas about the very essence of space, time, matter, and information. Located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, Perimeter also provides a wide array of research training and educational outreach activities to nurture scientific talent and share the importance of discovery and innovation among students, teachers, and the general public. In partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada, Perimeter is a successful example of public-private collaboration in scientific research, training, and outreach.

RJ Taylor | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca
http://www.perimeterinstitute.ca/News/In_The_Media/World%27s_First_Glimpse_of_Black_Hole_Launchpad/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Rapid water formation in diffuse interstellar clouds
25.06.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

nachricht When fluid flows almost as fast as light -- with quantum rotation
22.06.2018 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

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: Superconducting vortices quantize ordinary metal

Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.

These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid water formation in diffuse interstellar clouds

25.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Using tree-fall patterns to calculate tornado wind speed

25.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Stealth' material hides hot objects from infrared eyes

25.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>