Observing Beams from Black Holes

Talking about science fiction coming to life – have you checked out black holes lately? They are actually looked upon as the Death Star beam of nature. They provide powerful energy jets that blast out from the region of black holes just as deadly rays would from a Star Wars weapon.

Scientists Took a Closer Look

Now a group of prominent scientists that are being directed by the University of Southampton are moving even closer to comprehending this incredible cosmic event – which is referred to as relativistic jets – simply by calculating how rapidly they ‘switch on’ and begin brightly emitting after they’re launched.

The manner in which these jets form themselves is still a mystery. One theory implies that they form inside an ‘accretion disc’ — where matter gets drawn right into the orbit of an emerging black hole. It is the extreme gravity inside this disc that will twist and stretch magnetic fields, and will squeeze hot, magnetized disc material referred to as plasma to the point it will erupt into several oppositely poled magnetic pillars across the rotational axis of the black hole.

Figuring Out How the Beams are Emitted

Plasma moves across the focused jets and picks up incredible speed, and shoots along vast regions of space. At some point, the plasma begins to shine brightly, but how and where this occurs in the jet is heavily debated by many scientists.

A brand new study that was recently published by an global group of scientists who were led by Dr Poshak Gandhi have shown exactly the way they utilized some very precise multi-wavelength observations of V404 Cygni. This is a known binary system and consists of a black hole and a star that are orbiting one another very closely. In this system, the black hole feeds off material from the star which winds up falling through the disc — to shed some light on this heatedly debated phenomenon.

V404 Cygni exists approximately 7,800 light years away inside Cygnus constellation, and weighs about as much as 9 of our Suns combined. Dr Gandhi and his associated collected the data back in June 2015, at the time that V404 Cygni was radiating one of the most intense and brightest ‘bursts’ of light ever seen from a black hole – it was so bright that it was even visible to the small telescopes which are used by amateur astronomers, and had enough energy to rip up an Earth-type planet.

They had been utilizing telescopes that were located in space and on Earth at the very same time. They observed a 0.1-second delay among the X-ray flares which were blasted in the vicinity of the black hole, the place that the jet is formed, and the vision of bright light flashing, which marked the moment that the accelerated jet plasma started to shine.

Amazingly, the ‘blink of an eye’ delay measured the distance of about 19,000 miles which the beam traveled, which is totally impossible for any current telescope to resolve.

Dr Gandhi stated that: “Scientists have been observing jets for decades, but are far from understanding how nature creates these mind-bogglingly vast and energetic structures.

“Now, for the first time, we have captured the time delay between the appearance of X-rays and the appearance of optical light in a stellar-mass black hole at the moment jet plasma is activated. This lays to rest the controversy regarding the origin of the optical flashes, and also gives us a critical distance over which jet plasma must have been strongly accelerated to speeds approaching that of light.”