Clouds circling supermassive black holes spotted
Washington: Astronomers have reported seeing huge clouds of gas orbiting supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.
Once thought to be a relatively uniform, fog-like ring, the accreting matter instead forms clumps dense enough to intermittently dim the intense radiation blazing forth as these enormous objects condense and consume matter.
Evidence for the clouds comes from records collected over 16 years by NASA `s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, a satellite in low-Earth orbit equipped with instruments that measured variations in X-ray sources. Those sources include active galactic nuclei, brilliantly luminous objects powered by supermassive black holes as they gather and condense huge quantities of dust and gas.
By sifting through records for 55 active galactic nuclei Alex Markowitz, an astrophysicist at the University of California, San Diego and the Karl Remeis Observatory in Bamberg, Germany and colleagues found a dozen instances when the X-ray signal dimmed for periods of time ranging from hours to years, presumably when a cloud of dense gas passed between the source and satellite.
The findings are set to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- BSP shrugs off Rita Bahuguna 's jump; says BJP will still face defeat in UP polls
- Navjot Singh Sidhu out on zero to Waqar Younis in 1990 – The match Kapil Sharma keeps talking about
- MS Dhoni reacts in astonishment as Axar Patel takes a stunning one-handed catch - VIDEO
- Pierce Brosnan 'deeply shocked and saddened' because of Pan Masala brand ad
- Sushant Singh Rajput’s former girlfriend Ankita Lokhande’s Karva Chauth photos will surprise you