Supermassive black hole turns out to be like a fountain

Scientists could study the motion of matter near a supermassive black hole in the Circinus Galaxy. It turns out that it ejects most of the gas back. It’s all like a giant cosmic fountain.

Black hole. Source: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), T. Izumi et al.

Black hole and gas around it

An international research team used one of the world’s largest arrays of ALMA radio antennas to investigate in detail what was happening directly next to a supermassive black hole. They studied the gas moving near a similar object. It is located in the Circinus Galaxy.

Supermassive black holes are located at the center of almost every large galaxy. These objects are invisible by themselves but interact with a huge amount of matter around them. It is well known that there is an accretion disk around them, the substance of which rotates rapidly and gradually falls on them.

Space fountain

With the help of ALMA, scientists could study an area within a radius of several light-years around the black hole. For the first time, they could see the accretion flow — the movement of gas inside the incandescent disk. This task is considered extremely complicated. However, thanks to the sensitivity of the giant telescope, scientists could catch light where it was absorbed most intensely.

This way, it was possible to determine exactly how much matter the black hole really absorbed. It turned out that the flow is quite large, but most of it does not cross the event horizon. Instead, gravitational instability throws this material out. There it falls back into the accretion disk and its journey repeats over and over again.

According to experts, all this resembles a giant space fountain. Just like the water in this construction, the gas around the black hole can repeatedly fall on it and then be thrown out. Each time, only a tiny particle of matter gets inside a black hole or beyond its gravitational influence.

However, no one has studied these processes for sure until now. In particular, it has remained unknown how many substances absorb supermassive black holes per unit of time. This question is extremely important because it affects the picture of the evolution of these space monsters.

According to

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