Space

ALMA finds supermassive black hole, 70-million light-years away from Earth

Black hole

Reports revealed that with the help of ALMA telescope in Chile, scientists have spotted a supermassive and dense black hole in the centre of the galaxy NGC 1377. It further stated that we, at Earth, are 70-million light-years away from the galaxy NGC 1377 in the direction to the constellation Eridanus the River.

Susanne Aalto, who lead the research team said that growing black holes suggest that these are still swallowing matter. As per the observations with ALMA telescope, it also unveils a jet that is 500 light years long and less than 60 light years across, travelling at speeds of at least 800,000 kilometres per hour.

A black hole’s presence can be seen indirectly by telescopes during the process of ‘accretion’. For those who don’t know what actually accretion is, it is the process when a black hole swallows the matter. Hence, the jets of fast-moving objects made the scientists assume that the black holes are growing by accreting matter. For instance, the recently unveiled supermassive black hole is unveiled b ya jet in NGC 1377.

However, it is still unclear that how the gigantic black hole grew and remained as a mystery. It is also noted that generally, every galaxy has a supermassive black hole, masses of between a few million to a billion solar masses., situated in its centre.

“The jet’s unusual swirling could be due to an uneven flow of gas towards the central black hole. Another possibility is that the galaxy’s centre contains two supermassive black holes in orbit around each other”, says Sebastien Muller, Chalmers, also a member of the team.

Susanne Aalto concluded that without ALMA, the discovery of swirling jet from the centre of this galaxy wouldn’t have been possible.

“Alma’s unique ability to detect and measure cold gas is revolutionising our understanding of galaxies and their central black holes. In NGC 1377 we’re witnessing a transient stage in a galaxy’s evolution which will help us understand the most rapid and important growth phases of supermassive black holes, and the life cycle of galaxies in the universe”, she says.

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