A massive black hole detected by astronomers letting out a “double burp” after bingeing on hot gas. When cosmic gas comes near to one of these sinkholes, its get engulfed in – but some of the energy is released back into space in the form of a burp. The Hubble and Chandra space telescopes have now detected a new belch emanating from a black hole located about 800 million light-years away. But they saw a remnant of another belch which appeared 100,000 years earlier.
During a news conference Thursday, Julie Comerford, an astronomer at the University of Colorado Boulder said that black holes are voracious eaters, but it also turns out they don’t have very good table manners. They notice a lot of examples of black holes with single burps out, but we identified a galaxy with a supermassive black hole that has not one, but two burps.
Hubble was able to reveal that a cloud of blue-green gas extending away from the black hole represented the aftermath of an earlier burp. The findings show that electrons had been stripped from atoms in the cone of gas and surmise that this was caused by a burst of radiation from the vicinity of the black hole. Meanwhile, it had expanded 30,000 light-years away from the black hole itself.
Dr. Comerford said that this new burp is actually moving like a shockwave that is coming out very fast. She thought of an analogy for this and I was debating whether to use it or whether it’s a little too gross… imagine someone eating dinner at their kitchen table and they’re eating and burping, eating and burping. Before starting over, the black hole was going through a cycle of feasting, burping, and napping, she said.
The researchers consider the black hole ruptured twice because it consumed two separate meals. The results are published in the Astrophysical Journal.