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ALMA discovers a growing supermassive black hole in distant galaxy

Scientists with the help of ALMA telescope in Chile have spotted a dense and super massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy NGC 1377. The distant galaxy is located 70-million light years away from our planet Earth in the direction to the constellation Eridanus the River.


ALMA discovers a growing supermassive black hole in distant galaxy

New Delhi: Scientists with the help of ALMA telescope in Chile have spotted a dense and super massive black hole in the centre of the galaxy NGC 1377. The distant galaxy is located 70-million light years away from our planet Earth in the direction to the constellation Eridanus the River.

The team of researchers led by Susanne Aalto revealed that the balck holes are still swallowing matter which is an indication that it is still growing.The observations with Alma unveil a jet which is 500 light years long and less than 60 light years across, traveling at speeds of at least 800,000 kilometers per hour.Most galaxies have a super massive black hole in their center; these black holes can have masses of between a few million to a billion solar masses.

How they grew to be so massive is a long-standing mystery for scientists.A black hole's presence can be seen indirectly by telescopes when matter is falling into it - a process which astronomers call "accretion."

Jets of fast-moving material are typical signatures that a black hole is growing by accreting matter. The jet in NGC 1377 unveils the presence of a super massive black hole.

However, it has even more to tell us, said Francesco Costagliola from Chalmers.The jet has ejected molecular gas equivalent to two million times the mass of the Sun over a period of only around half a million years - a very short time in the life of a galaxy.During this short and dramatic phase in the galaxy's evolution, its central, super massive black hole must have grown fast. The measurements show that the jet is precessing - swirling outwards like water from a garden sprinkler. The research was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

(With PTI inputs)

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