Black holes

Example of quasar (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA)

An article published in the journal “Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia” describes the discovery of the fastest growing supermassive black hole. A team of astronomers from the Australian National University (ANU) used data collected by ESA’s Gaia space probe, NASA’s WISE space telescope and the SkyMapper telescope at the ANU Siding Spring Observatory to find it. It’s a quasar, one of the brightest objects in the universe but is more than 12 billion light years away from Earth. It swallows the equivalent of the Sun’s mass every two days.

The galaxy NGC 6240 (Image NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University))

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the formations similar to the wings of a butterfly in the galaxy NGC 6240. A team of researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder combined observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope, the VLT in Chile and the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico to study that galaxy by concluding that those particular formations are generated by different forces, in one case by a pair of supermassive black holes.

A snapshot of a simulation showing a binary black hole (Image courtesy Northwestern Visualization/Carl Rodriguez. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” describes the simulations of the evolution of globular clusters of the type commonly found in galaxies to assess the possibility of black holes mergers. A team led by MIT astrophysicist Carl Rodriguez used the Quest supercomputer at Northwestern University to simulate 24 clusters with different characteristics, also calculating relativistic effects, concluding that repeated mergers can occur, forming black holes more massive than the stellar ones.

The magnetic field at the center of the Milky Way (Image E. Lopez-Rodriguez / NASA Ames / University of Texas at San Antonio)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes the detailed mapping of the magnetic field around Sagittarius A*, also known simply as Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. A team of researchers used the CanariCam infrared camera installed on the Grand Telescopio Canarias to obtain the data needed to reproduce the magnetic lines of gas and dust that orbit around the center of the galaxy. The structure of the magnetic lines gives the result a style that reminds of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings.

Emissions from WISE1029 (Image ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Toba et al.)

An article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a research on gas outflows from the center of an active galaxy. A team of astronomers used the ALMA radio telescope to observe highly ionized gas outflows caused by the supermassive black hole at the center of a dust-obscured galaxy (DOG) known as WISE1029+0501 or simply WISE1029 achieving surprising results. In fact, they detected the “signature” of carbon monoxide associated with the galactic disk but also discovered that the carbon monoxide gas in the galaxy isn’t influenced by the outflow of the strongly ionized gas launched from the galactic center, contradicting the models that seemed more plausible.