Black holes

M77's active galactic nucleus with the gas moving in the inset (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Imanishi et al.)

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal Letter” describes the best observation ever made of a ring of gas and dust surrounding a supermassive black hole. A team of astronomers used the ALMA radio telescope to observe the active galactic nucleus (AGN) of the M77 spiral galaxy that emits the intense electromagnetic radiation detected. This is the definitive proof of what was initially proposed as a theoretical concept for which increasingly clearer evidence was collected over time up to that presented in this research.

Artist's concept of winds around a black hole stealing gas from a companion (Image courtesy NASA/Swift/A. Simonnet, Sonoma State University)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the study of 12 binary systems with X-ray emissions and the presence of a black hole. A team of researchers found evidence of the continuous presence of strong winds that surround the black holes studied throughout their outbursts, which consist in very intense emissions. This research offers new information on the way in which masses move towards black holes and on black holes’ influence on the environment around them.

The galaxies SDSS J1354+1327 and SDSS J1354+1328 (Image NASA , ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder))

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes the observation of two events consisting of a supermassive black hole that swallowed large amounts of gas and then emits a part of them in the form of very high-energy jets. A team of astronomers led by Julie Comerford of the University of Colorado at Boulder used observations made with various telescopes to capture this repeated activity at the center of a galaxy known as SDSS J1354+1327 or simply J1354.

The galaxy UGC 6093 (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA)

A photo of the galaxy UGC 6093 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows some of its interesting features. It’s a barred spiral galaxy, it has an active galactic nucleus powered by a supermassive black hole at its center and acts like a megamaser, which is an astronomical maser that emits microwaves with an intensity about 100 million times greater than that of the astronomical masers found in galaxies such as the Milky Way.