American astronomers from the universities of Michigan and Maryland have fixed the gas flow near a huge black hole Swift J1644 + 57. It turned out that the black hole suddenly out from the rest to devour a nearby star.
Most black holes in the Universe are in a state of rest. But sometimes a wandering star can get too close to a dormant black hole, and then it is frantic absorption awakened black hole. This phenomenon is called tidal destruction and is accompanied by a spectacular “fireworks”.
According to scientists, this is what happened in the case of Swift J1644 + 57. The mass of a supermassive black hole a million times more than that of the Sun. X-rays that are reflected from the walls of its accretion disk after the tidal disruption, was registered by the astronomers using the NASA satellite Swift.
The accretion disk consists of giant clouds of crushed stars moving around the black hole. Powerful x-rays inside the disk, it seemed that contrary to the belief of astronomers, according to which, most of the radiation comes from a narrow jet of particles accelerated to nearly the speed of light. “Never before have we seen a strong gravitational effect of the dormant black hole,” — said the study’s lead author Erin Kara.
This is a tidal destruction is the third, created with high-energy x-rays, and the only one that managed to capture during the peak of the radiation. While the destruction occurred 3.9 billion years ago, the resulting x-rays reached the Earth only in 2011.
“While we don’t yet understand what causes x-flash too close to a black hole. We know that when they arise, we can detect their echoes after a couple of minutes after the light has reached and covered part of the stream. This technique, called x-ray reverberation mapping has previously been used to study stable discs around black holes. We first applied it to the newly created disk created by tidal destruction,” — said Erin Kara.
These now inactive black holes have been active in the early stage of life the Universe and played a large role in the evolution of galaxies.