Common physics among black holes

Dec 13, 2012 by Francis Reddy
Astronomers examining the properties of black hole jets compared 54 gamma-ray bursts with 234 active galaxies classified as blazars and quasars. Surprisingly, the power and brightness of the jets share striking similarities despite a wide range of black hole mass, age and environment. Regardless of these differences, the jets produce light by tapping into similar percentages of the kinetic energy of particles moving along the jet, suggesting a common underlying physical cause. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

(Phys.org)—Black holes range from modest objects formed when individual stars end their lives to behemoths billions of times more massive that rule the centers of galaxies. A new study using data from NASA's Swift satellite and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope shows that high-speed jets launched from active black holes possess fundamental similarities regardless of mass, age or environment. The result provides a tantalizing hint that common physical processes are at work.

"What we're seeing is that once any black hole produces a jet, the same fixed fraction of energy generates the gamma-ray light we observe with Fermi and Swift," said lead researcher Rodrigo Nemmen, a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Gas falling toward a black hole spirals inward and piles up into an , where it becomes compressed and heated. Near the inner edge of the disk, on the threshold of the black hole's —the point of no return—some of the material becomes accelerated and races outward as a pair of jets flowing in opposite directions along the black hole's spin axis. These jets contain particles moving at nearly the speed of light, which produce —the most extreme form of light—when they interact.

"We don't fully understand how this acceleration process occurs, but in active galaxies we see jets that have operated so long that they've produced trails of gas extending millions of light-years," said Sylvain Guiriec, an NPP fellow at Goddard and a co-author on the study, which was published in the Dec. 14 issue of Science.

At the other end of the scale are gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the most powerful explosions in the universe. Astronomers believe that the most common type of GRB heralds the death of a massive star and the birth of a stellar-mass black hole. When the star's energy-producing core runs through its store of fuel, it collapses and forms a black hole. As the star's overlying layers cascade inward, an accretion disk forms and the black hole launches a jet.

The particles in some GRB jets have been clocked at speeds exceeding 99.9 percent the speed of light. When the jet breaches the star's surface, it produces a pulse of gamma rays typically lasting a few seconds. Satellites like Swift and Fermi can detect this emission if the jet is approximately directed toward us.

To search for a trend across a wide range of masses, the scientists looked at the galactic-scale equivalent of GRB jets. These come from the brightest classes of active galaxies, blazars and quasars, which sport jets that likewise happen to point our way.

To match the amount of energy given off by a typical blazar in one second, the sun must shine for 317,000 years. To equal the energy a run-of-the-mill GRB puts out in one second, the sun would need to shine for another 3 billion years.

Ultimately, the team examined 54 GRBs and 234 blazars and quasars. The gamma-ray brightness obtained with Fermi, Swift and other observatories told the scientists how much light the jets radiate. Radio and X-ray observations allowed them to determine the power of the particle acceleration in each jet. By analyzing how these two properties related to each other, the researchers discovered that the GRB and blazar samples both exhibited the same relationship.

"Here we have a situation where the mechanism that launches material from a black hole either has to be very similar on both ends of the mass scale—from a few to a billion solar masses—or we need different mechanisms that manage to produce very similar efficiencies," explained co-author Eileen Meyer, a post-doctoral researcher at the Science Institute in Baltimore.

The finding simplifies astronomers' understanding of black holes by showing that their activity is governed by the same set of rules—whatever they happen to be—independent of mass, age, or the jet's brightness and power. The jets tap into similar fractions—between 3 and 15 percent—of the energy wrapped up in the motion of their accelerated particles to power the emission of gamma rays and other forms of light.

"It's a bit like a poor man and a billionaire spending the same percentage of their incomes on their heating bills," said team member Markos Georganopoulos, an associate professor of physics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The authors hope to extend the research to other black-hole-powered events that launch jets, such as the tidal disruption of stars by supermassive .

"One especially useful outcome of this research will be to foster greater communication between astronomers studying GRBs and those working on active galaxies, which in the past we've tended to regard as separate areas of study," said co-author Neil Gehrels, the principal investigator on NASA's Swift.

Explore further: Gravitational waves according to Planck

More information: www.sciencemag.org/content/338/6113/1445.abstract

Related Stories

Ghostly gamma-ray beams blast from Milky Way's center

May 29, 2012

(Phys.org) -- As galaxies go, our Milky Way is pretty quiet. Active galaxies have cores that glow brightly, powered by supermassive black holes swallowing material, and often spit twin jets in opposite directions. ...

Black hole jets

Jan 16, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Black holes are irresistible sinks for matter and energy. They are so dense that not even light can escape from their gravitational clutches. Massive black holes (equal to millions or even ...

Fermi sees brightest-ever blazar flare

Dec 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A galaxy located billions of light-years away is commanding the attention of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and astronomers around the globe. Thanks to a series of flares that began ...

Recommended for you

Image: NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo

1 hour ago

This picture, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), shows a galaxy known as NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock). Its unusual shape is caused ...

Measuring the proper motion of a galaxy

2 hours ago

The motion of a star relative to us can be determined by measuring two quantities, radial motion and proper motion. Radial motion is the motion of a star along our line of sight. That is, motion directly ...

Gravitational waves according to Planck

18 hours ago

Scientists of the Planck collaboration, and in particular the Trieste team, have conducted a series of in-depth checks on the discovery recently publicized by the Antarctic Observatory, which announced last ...

Infant solar system shows signs of windy weather

18 hours ago

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have observed what may be the first-ever signs of windy weather around a T Tauri star, an infant analog of our own Sun. This may help ...

Finding hints of gravitational waves in the stars

Sep 22, 2014

Scientists have shown how gravitational waves—invisible ripples in the fabric of space and time that propagate through the universe—might be "seen" by looking at the stars. The new model proposes that ...

How gamma ray telescopes work

Sep 22, 2014

Yesterday I talked about the detection of gamma ray bursts, intense blasts of gamma rays that occasionally appear in distant galaxies. Gamma ray bursts were only detected when gamma ray satellites were put ...

User comments : 30

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (18) Dec 13, 2012
"We don't fully understand how this acceleration process occurs, but in active galaxies we see jets that have operated so long that they've produced trails of gas extending millions of light-years," said Sylvain Guiriec


And they never will until they consider the electric fields that must be present. Oh, and BH's are fairy tales conjured up in the minds of fanciful mathematicians.

Q-Star
3.7 / 5 (13) Dec 13, 2012
And they never will until they consider the electric fields that must be present. Oh, and BH's are fairy tales conjured up in the minds of fanciful mathematicians.


Okay, now we need to hear from "water waves" and "Newton predicted black holes" and then we'll have the complete theory of everything.

I'll wait with bated breath.
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (15) Dec 13, 2012
Gas
yash17
1 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2012
"Astronomers examining the properties of black hole jets compared 54 gamma-ray bursts with 234 active galaxies classified as blazars and quasars. Surprisingly, the power and brightness of the jets share striking similarities despite a wide range of black hole mass, age and environment. Regardless of these differences, the jets produce light by tapping into similar percentages of the kinetic energy of particles moving along the jet, suggesting a common underlying physical cause."

This is one step ahead in cosmos science. Good luck.
VendicarD
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2012
The plot provided shows a linear relationship between log(power) and brightness.

This is not a constant fraction or "similar fraction" relationship.

"Regardless of these differences, the jets produce light by tapping into similar percentages of the kinetic energy of particles moving along the jet" - article
ValeriaT
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 13, 2012
now we need to hear from "water waves"
AWT cannot replace the formal theories, but it complements them and it brings and intuitive insights into their understanding, like the
1) black holes exhibit the physical surface composed of quark and neutrinos, at the moment when this surface protrudes the even horizon black hole will change into radiative white hole
2) black hole can swallow only very limited amount of matter during their accretion most of matter is radiated back in form of energy
3) therefore most of black holes were formed with gravitational collapse rather than accretion
4) the jets of rotating black holes are formed with black hole jet own radiation, they don't require any accretion to work. Black holes may occasionally explode into neutrino bursts like large stars.
5) the BH jets may be asymmetric due the CP violation and they do represent the soughed magnetic monopoles after then
6) the event horizon is behaving like the mirror reflecting short wavelength light back
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 13, 2012
7)so called worm holes are actually formed with tunnels of dense vacuum between two nearby black holes
8)polar jets of black holes do represent a window, which are enabling to observe the glowing physical surface of black hole
9)large black holes are formed with gravitational collapse of dark matter rather the normal matter
10) black holes are surrounded with antimatter
11) the size of event horizon depends on distance from which we are observing it
12) the even horizon is the more fuzzy, the larger black hole is. The cloudy galaxies around large black holes are part of this fuzziness
13) the black holes would change into white holes and started to evaporate if they're stripped from galaxy, which was formed around them
14) the proximity of black holes changes the properties of many physical constants including the speed of light and gravitational constant
15) the BH rather bounce than coalesce when they met together
16) the BH have foamy interior similar to dark matter around them
Battman
1 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2012
If I remember rightly, in one of the episodes of The Universe, it was suggested that objects flowing from the jets of blazars at 99% of c could be as large as bowling balls. Could this be right?

If a magnetar was ripped apart in a Quasar, could the plamsa particles in a blazar jet be very small but still even have the mass of a bowling ball? Curious.
radek
1 / 5 (6) Dec 14, 2012
"Regardless of these differences, the jets produce light by tapping into similar percentages of the kinetic energy of particles moving along the jet" - article

looks like BH is key to understanding Universe. We have a lot of problems with BH:
1) monster BH`s existing in early Universe
2) central position in almost each galaxy
3) jets mechnism

According to BBT the Universe started from singularity. It means that there no gravitation - in other case it was impossible to expand. When we talk about singularity we usually think about BH first. It suggest that we started from One Big BH which was thorn apart into smaller BH`s (expension and Dark Age). After that each of BH started to emit radiation (jets) which is source of matter and galaxies (look at spiral galaxies)

Of course I can`t do the math.
Battman
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2012
Radek, the math is not all you cannot do.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2012
Cool! Expected, but the universe got so much simpler.

@ cantdrive: Electric fields are already considered to be the jet mechanism:

"Relativistic jets emit most of their energy via synchrotron emission. In our simple model the sphere contains highly relativistic electrons and a steady magnetic field." [ http://en.wikiped..._beaming ]

@ Valeria: "Aether" was rejected by observation over a century ago. There is no such thing.

@ Battman: Not "large" as bowling balls, but massive as you say in the next paragraph. Well, maybe, I don't have time to check.

I can't understand your last paragraph (except the mass thing).
1parsec29
1 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2012
Its just cannot be a coincident, there is a well studied published anomalies around earth gravity [ called pioneer anomaly ] which can be caused by the same law of physic. With larger space bodies for example black holes can make change on a bigger scales with materials which has trajectories as "flyby" close to a black hole event horizon. If the incoming material get to close to an event horizon at high angle related to the black hole equator will cause bigger speed ups and as its repeating to fall back and back again will soon gain higher and higher speed until unite and forming a channel of vertical jet which eventually leave behind the black hole with tremendous speed forever.
As Robert Sanders at University of Groningen says: "It suggests that we may know less about gravity than we think we do," he says. "I think people should take it seriously."
Sanders says the anomaly may be a sign that our current theory of gravity, Einstein's general theory of relativity, needs to be altered
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2012
@ radek: In the current inflationary standard cosmology there is no need for a singularity. When inflation ends reheating occurs, and spacetime becomes filled with particles at a defined temperature. This is the overlap, the "big bang" event of earlier cosmologies.

Inflation is a process in spacetime driven by the inflation field. It doesn't need a singularity, and quite frankly it is simpler if it has no such. This leads to eternal inflation physics, which is the dominant physics of inflation fields anyway.

@ parsek: The Pioneer anomaly is on spacecraft leaving the system, not near Earth which is the flyby anomaly. The first is known to be real and a consequence of how IR radiation from the heat of RTGs leaves the crafts. The second anomaly is not known whether it exists or not. Some crafts don't display it, meaning it is probably a measurement problem. [Wikipedia]
Noumenon
2.9 / 5 (21) Dec 14, 2012
The plot provided shows a linear relationship between log(power) and brightness.

This is not a constant fraction or "similar fraction" relationship.

"Regardless of these differences, the jets produce light by tapping into similar percentages of the kinetic energy of particles moving along the jet" - article


It's log(power) by log(luminosity).
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2012
"Aether" was rejected by observation over a century ago.
Aether was rejected by observation of negative result of Michelson-Morley experiment, which was based on fringe idea, that the light is mediated with longitudinal waves of aether and therefore it must be a subject of aether drag. But as we know, the light is transverse wave and such a waves exhibit a drag neither in material environments. In addition, the Lorentz invariance was derived with Lorentz a long time before Einstein just with using of aether model - the constant speed of light can be derived from Maxwell equations rather easily based on fluid model. So, how is it possible, the aether was disproved just with the same result, which this model predicts? The people like you, who are parroting the same sentence without reflecting any arguments just demonstrate, how religious and mentally rigid the contemporary physics actually is
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2012
Electric fields are already considered to be the jet mechanism
This is not true. Prove it with some citation.
Pioneer anomaly is on spacecraft leaving the system, not near Earth which is the flyby anomaly
You didn't understand the meaning of 1parsec29's post. Of course, 1parsec29 knows, these two effects manifest at different scale - his opinion was, they both share the similar physical mechanism.
first is known to be real and a consequence of how IR radiation
This is not true - it's one of many hypothesis and many physicists don't agree (1, 2) with it. We observe many similar fly-by anomalies of another space-probes (Rossetta), which cannot be explained with thermal effects and the time curve of anomaly doesn't fit the decay curve of plutonium, which is the heat source at Pioneer spaceprobes.
ValeriaT
1.6 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2012
Some crafts don't display it, meaning it is probably a measurement problem.
LOL, this is typical dull approach of mainstream physics, driven with peer-review mechanisms. But it can just mean, this anomaly depends on many factors, which aren't understood yet. At first, flyby anomaly depends on the path of space-probe too, because it manifest mostly at the equatorial plane of massive objects. In addition, this anomaly depends on the surface/volume ratio of spaceprobe (large bulky planets don't exhibit it at all) and probably the type of its material too (if it's quantum fluctuation effect, then it's merely a Cassimir force mechanism at the large scale).
The tendency to refuse all phenomena, until they're not completely understood is typical for religious mainstream physics of the last century and it manifests itself in another areas (cold fusion, antigravity effects, etc). But the fact, some phenomena cannot be predicted reliably doesn't mean, that the phenomena doesn't exist.
GSwift7
3.5 / 5 (8) Dec 14, 2012
Battman:

If I remember rightly, in one of the episodes of The Universe, it was suggested that objects flowing from the jets of blazars at 99% of c could be as large as bowling balls. Could this be right?


No. When you give something this much energy it cannot hold molecular bonds. Even subatomic forces should be overwhelmed by this amount of energy in the particles.

As for the mass of the particles, when you get this close to the speed of light, mass and energy start to be interchangeable in the equations. You start having to deal with all sorts of quantum effects in these jets too. The material in these jets is very different from anything you know of as matter. Under these conditions we have no idea what the bulk properties of the jet are like. Similar to the material in the interior of the Earth, we lack the laboratory equipment to reproduce it. We have little data about what the jet material might act like.
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2012
But as we know, the light is transverse wave and such a waves exhibit a drag neither in material environments.


So that is why my eye glasses, telescope and prisms quit working,,, could you suggest a fix for that? I sure would like to have them start working again.
rubberman
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2012

No. When you give something this much energy it cannot hold molecular bonds. Even subatomic forces should be overwhelmed by this amount of energy in the particles.


Pure wave energy with no boundary conditions, compressed between the EM field generated by the relativistic speed of the plasma in the outer ergosphere and the event horizon boundary itself. Forced towards the "poles" by the decrease in angular momentum in that area perhaps....then shot into space at EM velocity (c).

If I had to Macgyver my own particle jet, these are the tools I would need...and maybe some gum....
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2012
why my eye glasses, telescope and prisms quit working,,, could you suggest a fix for that
I don't understand this comment. The validity of aether model doesn't doubt the existence of relativity and quantum mechanics - on the contrary, it explains, why we maintain just these two theories instead of three, four or single one.
Q-Star
3.6 / 5 (9) Dec 14, 2012
I don't understand this comment.


I'm truly shocked at that.
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (13) Dec 14, 2012
If I had to Macgyver my own particle jet, these are the tools I would need...and maybe some gum....


Heaven forbid that men ever figure out how to re-create this kind of energy...

"I am become death, destroyer of worlds"

Litterally.
GSwift7
3.9 / 5 (11) Dec 14, 2012
I don't understand this comment.

I'm truly shocked at that.


lol. He won't get that one either.
rubberman
1 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2012
If I had to Macgyver my own particle jet, these are the tools I would need...and maybe some gum....


Heaven forbid that men ever figure out how to re-create this kind of energy...

"I am become death, destroyer of worlds"

Litterally.


Awwww, no particle jet for me....perhaps a catamaran so I can ride an Aether wave all the way to a grateful dead show?
Although I don't know if you can fashion one out of gum and BH.

I don't think we have to worry GS, It will be a long time before we can even isolate anything in that region. I did have a thought though....I wonder if the wave energy combines in this region, behaves similar to a superconducting current of pure energy, or if it still remains differentiated ( i cant see this being possible because of the forces you mentioned earlier).
Widdekind
1 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2012
Perhaps there exists some sort of scale invariance, whereby more initially energetic electrons, take proportionately longer to decelerate (and radiate away said energy), so that their average emission power is quasi-constant? i offer the following:

http://www.scienc...elation/
Widdekind
1 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2012
According to "Galaxy Formation & Evolution" by Mo, van den Bosch, & White; only large luminous galaxies harbor central SMBH; smaller dwarfish galaxies harbor only central dense "Nuclear Star Clusters", resembling massive bright Globular Clusters (nestled in the middle of the dwarf galaxy). Now, if galaxies "grow", then large galaxies were once small proto-galaxies; which may have lacked central SMBH. If so, then at some "tipping point", central star clusters must have collapsed, into central SMBH. The implosion, of millions of solar masses of stars, would presumably be some sort of spectacular event. Are GRBs firmly observationally tied to SNe, or could distant GRBs be the births of galaxy-mass SMBH, from the implosion of precursor star clusters?? If so, then GRBs would derive from SMBH of vaguely similar mass, to those in Quasars & Blazars.
Widdekind
1 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2012
on second thought...

GRBs occur "commonly", tens of thousands per large galaxy per Hubble time. The hypothetical implosion, of dense nuclear star clusters, into SMBH, would have occurred once per large galaxy per Hubble time, i.e. tens of thousands of times less frequently. In decades of observations, humans have witnessed nearly a thousand GRBs. So, to witness one such implosion, would require centuries. Parsimoniously, the actual birth of SMBH (and AGN) have not yet been observed by humans. If so, then there are natural space phenomena, that humans have yet to observe -- the last word on Astronomy is far from written.
Widdekind
1 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2012
On third thought...

Phys.org has web-published many articles about "obscured Quasars", and how Quasars are born, during "wet" (gas rich) galaxy mergers, amidst dense shrouding cocoons of gas & dust, rendering their first ~100Myr non-visible. So, perhaps the best place to look, for the births of SMBH, and ensuing AGN, are gas-rich merging galaxies, preferably at higher redshifts, not yet showing signs of AGN activity?
Widdekind
1 / 5 (3) Dec 20, 2012
Henize 2-10, located 30Mly away, is a blue star-bursting dwarf galaxy, harboring a seemingly-young SMBH, indicated by its x-ray emissions. Whatever such a galaxy would look like, before its star-burst and SMBH formation, would be a good candidate to surveil, for SMBH formation:

http://phys.org/n...mos.html