Thursday, January 06, 2005
An artist's impression of a gas being pulled around a black hole (via Space.com)
I can't think of anything profound to say about this, but I just thought it was neat.
Biggest Space Explosion Creates Giant Bubbles
The largest explosion ever seen in space reveals black holes to be more influential than expected, perhaps sometimes stifling star formation in a galaxy while gobbling up trillions upon trillions of tons of gas.
The eruption has been ongoing for some 100 million years, astronomers said Wednesday.
The outburst is orchestrated by a supermassive black hole that anchors a distant galaxy sitting amid a tight cluster of galaxies. The black hole has blown two huge bubbles into the galaxy, shoving aside a colossal amount of gas equal to the mass of a trillion Suns, or more than all the stars of our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Each bubble is many times bigger than those seen in previous studies.
Here's what happens: While the black hole feasts, a lot of incoming gas is ejected violently back into the galaxy along the black hole's axis of rotation. Two high-speed jets of superheated gas carve out the ever-expanding bubbles.
The scene was captured by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array.
I find it amusing that like sharks and two-year old children, black holes are messy eaters.
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