In our very busy and noisy Universe, a supermassive black hole finds its peace. This bizarre phenomenon was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope from NASA.
NASA has recently published pictures of a certain supergiant elliptical galaxy named NGC 4889. This galaxy contains this unique supermassive black hole, considered by scientists to be abnormally quiet. Situated about three hundred million light-years from our planet, NGC 4889 is part of the Coma Cluster and features an immense black hole, 21 billion times larger than the mass of the Sun in our solar system.
Scientists could determine its position by making calculations with the data received by using the Hubble Space Telescope. As for the mass of the black hole, they had to use the Gemini North Telescope and various tools from Keck II Observatory. What they did was measure the stars’ velocity, since they depend on the size of the object they are orbiting, in this case the black hole in NGC 4889.
Therefore, astronomers arrived at the conclusion that the event horizon of the supermassive black hole has a 130-billion-kilometer diameter. This is equivalent to a diameter fifteen times bigger than the one of the orbit of Neptune from the Sun.
However, the particularity of this black hole lies in the fact that it has stopped sucking in the surrounding material. Previously it has been fueling itself by using hot accretion, but not it seems to have found its peace.
So what does happen exactly with these black holes? Space gas, dust and other materials slide into an accretion disc, which subsequently falls slowly into the black hole. This happens because of the hole’s gravitational pull, but also because the accretion disc is orbiting it. Thus the accumulation ends up seriously heating up and accelerating.
It appears that the supermassive black hole used to propel the accumulation of space material into energetic jets back when it used to be active. Scientists believe that in the far past, the NGC 4889 galaxy used to be a quasar.
In the end, it is estimated that the disc that used to be drawn into the black hole had to send an immense amount of energy, probably 1,000 times the volume that is emitted by our galaxy, the Milky Way. However, when this supply of dust, gas and other materials was wasted, the black hole became less active until it stopped completely.
Even though a supermassive black hole finds its peace, this does not mean it will not awake once more when it will have the resources. Astronomers will continue to study it and its galaxy in order to better understand how quasars were created.
Image Source: SpaceSky