A NASA telescope captured a huge blast of gas coming back out of a black hole - which astronomers have likened to the black hole ‘burping’.
It’s thought that the force of such 'burps’ could have shaped galaxies as they formed in the early universe.
NASA’s Chandra space telescope captured an outburst in the supermassive black hole centered in the small galaxy NGC 5195. T
Both of these galaxies are in the Messier 51 galaxy system, located about 26 million light-years from Earth.
‘For an analogy, astronomers often refer to black holes as ‘eating’ stars and gas. Apparently, black holes can also burp after their meal,’ said Eric Schlegel of The University of Texas in San Antonio.
‘Our observation is important because this behavior would likely happen very often in the early universe, altering the evolution of galaxies. It is common for big black holes to expel gas outward, but rare to have such a close, resolved view of these events.’
In the Chandra data, Schlegel and his colleagues detect two arcs of X-ray emission close to the center of NGC 5195.
‘We think these arcs represent fossils from two enormous blasts when the black hole expelled material outward into the galaxy,’ said co-author Christine Jones of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
‘This activity is likely to have had a big effect on the galactic landscape.’