18.5 C
Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

Black hole jets pack powerful punch: CSIRO

Latest News

Missing teen – Tweed Heads

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a boy reported missing from Tweed Heads.

Other News

Magic mushrooms

David Gilet, Byron Bay As noted in David Heilpern’s article (24 February), with drugs, whether medicinal or recreational, dosage is a...

Lennox Rise development clears another hurdle

The massive new residential development planned west of Epiq in Lennox Head continued its progress towards becoming reality at the last Ballina Shire Council meeting.

Praying for Vanuatu in Ballina

The World Day of Prayer is a gigantic ecumenical event staged on the first Friday of March.

Bringing down the heat in our ‘hood

How well we survive the future depends on our vision for our towns and suburbs – and on how we bring that vision about.

Editorial – Ewingsdale development creep rejected by residents

A petition of 294 signatures against rezoning Ewingsdale farmland to commercial use will be presented to councillors for their upcoming Thursday meeting.

Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Visualisation of a black-hole system like 4U1630-47: a stellar-mass black hole being ‘fed’ by a companion star. Credit: NASA/CXC/M Weiss
Visualisation of a black-hole system like 4U1630-47: a stellar-mass black hole being ‘fed’ by a companion star. Credit: NASA/CXC/M Weiss

High-speed ‘jets’ spat out by black holes pack a lot of power because they contain heavy atoms, astronomers have found.

Black-hole jets recycle matter and energy into space and can affect when and where a galaxy forms stars.
‘Jets from supermassive black holes help determine a galaxy’s fate – how it evolves,’ said CSIRO’s Dr Tasso Tzioumis, a member of the research team.

‘So we want to understand better the impact jets have on their environment.’
The work, led by Dr María Díaz Trigo of the European Southern Observatory, is published in the journal Nature this week.
Astronomers have known for decades that black-hole jets contain electrons, which are low-mass particles.

But using the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton space telescope and CSIRO’s Compact Array radio telescope in northwest NSW, the research team found the first evidence of heavy atoms – iron and nickel – in the jets from a ‘typical’ black hole known as 4U1630-47.

An iron atom is about 100,000 times more massive than an electron. When a massive particle is moving it carries more energy than a lighter particle moving at the same speed.

‘Heavy atoms have been seen in jets from one other system, SS433, but that’s a very unusual system, an oddball, whereas this system is quite typical, much more likely to represent black holes in general,’ Dr Tzioumis said.

While 4U1630-47 is a small black hole, a few times the mass of the Sun, the physics of black holes ‘is scalable’, he said, meaning that the finding would apply to larger black holes.

The discovery suggests that jets are powered by the black hole’s accretion disk – a belt of hot gas swirling around the black hole – and not by the spin of the black hole itself, which would be more likely to produce jets containing only light particles.

The jets from 4U1630-47 are travelling fast, at two-thirds the speed of light.

When such fast-moving jets containing heavy particles smash into matter in space, they could generate gamma rays and neutrinos, which might be detectable with current and future telescopes.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Lifting the lid on plans to build a retirement village in Ewingsdale

The letter sent to the residents of Ewingsdale last year by holiday park owner Ingenia seemed fairly innocuous at first glance...

Byron’s new road: the good and not so

After more than 30 years of talk, debate, disagreements, tears and political gridlock, Byron Bay has a new road to divert traffic from the CBD to the southern end of town.