Astronomers have uncovered some striking features in the gases emitted from the regions close to one of the brightest supermassive black holes known to exist. The black hole has a mass 300 million times that of the sun.
The international research team found a very hot “converter” corona hovering above the black hole and cold gas “bullets” in hotter diffuse gas, speeding outwards with velocities up to 700 km/s.
According to Gabriele Ponti, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Southampton, who is leading the studies related to the emission produced by the iron present in the nucleus of the galaxy, this discovery allows astronomers to locate the outflowing matter and, for the first time, to show that it is not a continuous flow, but formed by at least five distinct components, like “bullets.”
Full story at Futurity.
(Photo credit: University of Southampton)