Black hole makes 'String of Pearls' clusters

Apr 01, 2014 by Lea Kivivali
Black hole makes 'String of Pearls' clusters
In this false-colour image combining several sets of observations, the visible light is in blues (from the Hubble Space telescope) showing swirls of stars; the observations from the Very Large Array radio telescope are in green and aqua displaying a central emission with two jets, and the newly discovered clusters are in red in the middle. The black hole is represented by a dot to show the location – the black hole itself can't be seen.

(Phys.org) —Huge young star clusters resembling a string of pearls around a black hole in the centre of a galaxy 120 million light-years away have been discovered by researchers at Swinburne University of Technology.

The galaxy, called NGC2110, is in the constellation of Orion.

Using the giant Keck telescopes in Hawaii, the researchers, Professor Jeremy Mould and PhD student Mark Durré from Swinburne's Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, found four star clusters, very close (in astronomical terms) to a black hole.

"These star clusters hadn't been seen before because they are hidden by dust clouds around the black hole and because they appear very tiny, but they can be observed in infrared radiation that penetrates the clouds," Mr Durré said.

"The Keck telescope also uses 'adaptive optics', which removes the atmospheric shimmer that blurs images."

Supermassive – condensations of matter so dense that not even light can escape from its gravity – are thought to be at the centre of all large .

"Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has a black hole that is almost four million times the mass of our Sun," Mr Durré said. "NGC2110 has a black hole about 100 times bigger."

The black hole produces huge amounts of energy that comes from gas and dust falling into it. As the material streams in, it hits an accretion disk – a spinning ring of superheated gas around the black hole's equator. Enormous quantities of radiation shine out and some of the matter also gets spewed out in jets, which are most clearly observed by radio telescopes.

Tides from the black hole and other features of the galaxy can help form star clusters – collections of thousands of stars which are all formed together from a gas and . In turn, gas out-streaming from the young stars in the clusters can feed and energise the black hole.

"The jets can compress gas around them to start this formation, but they can also stop the process by blowing the gas completely out of the galaxy. The fine details of how the matter is funnelled in and how the black hole affects the galaxy around it remain fascinating questions for astronomers as they try to work out how galaxies form."

Mr Durré said that according to computer simulations, star clusters should form like beads or pearls on a string in a ring around the black hole – and this is just what the researchers have observed.

"After many millions of years, these clusters will be torn apart, again by tidal forces, and gradually settle into a central collection closer around the black hole." Mr Durré said.

This research has been published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Explore further: RX J1532.9+3021: Extreme power of black hole revealed

More information: "Young Star Clusters In The Circumnuclear Region Of NGC 2110." Mark Durré, Jeremy Mould. arXiv:1402.3339 [astro-ph.GA]

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HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2014
Re: "Mr Durré said that according to computer simulations, star clusters should form like beads or pearls on a string in a ring around the black hole – and this is just what the researchers have observed."

Given that the black hole is a construct which researchers can define in any way they wish, and given that they even have the option of disagreeing with one another over the definition, this is a non-falsifiable claim. Why is the simulation treated as though it has been "discovered", when we all know that it was actually programmed, based upon an effort to fit the simulation to observations?
GSwift7
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 01, 2014
Why is the simulation treated as though it has been "discovered", when we all know that it was actually programmed, based upon an effort to fit the simulation to observations?


Because they actually used the Keck telescope to verify the model with observations. They actually did observe the star clusters, with a telescope, in real life. I guess their observations could be fake, just like the moon landings. :)

BTW, if you ever get a photograph of a UFO, don't let anyone know about it. They'll have your pictures deleted, TRUST ME.

lol
IMP-9
5 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2014
Given that the black hole is a construct which researchers can define in any way they wish, and given that they even have the option of disagreeing with one another over the definition


What definitions are there for a black hole? This is nonsense.

based upon an effort to fit the simulation to observations?


The observed effect was never fitted otherwise there would be no article.
TiagoTiago
not rated yet Apr 26, 2014
Black holes and pearl necklaces? Giggity!