WISE mission captures black hole's wildly flaring jet

September 21, 2011
This artist's concept illustrates what the flaring black hole called GX 339-4 might look like. Infrared observations from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) reveal the best information yet on the chaotic and extreme environments of this black hole's jets. GX 339-4 likely formed from a star that exploded. It is surrounded by an accretion disk (red) of material being pulled onto the black hole from a neighboring star (yellow orb). Some of this material is shot away in the form of jets (yellow flows above and below the disk). The region close in to the black hole glows brightly in infrared light. Image credit: NASA

(PhysOrg.com) -- Astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have captured rare data of a flaring black hole, revealing new details about these powerful objects and their blazing jets.

Scientists study jets to learn more about the around . Much has been learned about the material feeding black holes, called , and the jets themselves through studies using X-rays, and . But key measurements of the brightest part of the jets, located at their bases, have been difficult despite decades of work. WISE is offering a new window into this missing link through its .

"Imagine what it would be like if our sun were to undergo sudden, random bursts, becoming three times brighter in a matter of hours, and then fading back again. That's the kind of fury we observed in this jet," said Poshak Gandhi, a scientist with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). He is lead author of a new study on the results appearing in the . "With WISE's , we were able to zoom in on the inner regions near the base of the stellar-mass black hole's jet for the first time and the physics of jets in action."

The black hole, called GX 339-4, had been observed previously. It lies more than 20,000 light-years away from Earth near the center of our galaxy. It has a mass at least six times greater than the sun. Like other black holes, it is an ultra-dense collection of matter, with gravity that is so great even light cannot escape. In this case, the black hole is orbited by a that feeds it. Most of the material from the companion star is pulled into the black hole, but some of it is blasted away as a jet flowing at nearly the speed of light.

"To see bright flaring activity from a black hole you need to be looking at the right place at the right time," said Peter Eisenhardt, the project scientist for WISE at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "WISE snapped sensitive infrared pictures every 11 seconds for a year, covering the whole sky, allowing it to catch this rare event."

Observing the jet's variability was possible because of images taken of the same patch of sky over time, a feature of NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE mission. WISE data enabled the team to zoom in on the very compact region around the base of the jet streaming from the black hole. The size of the region is equivalent to the width of a dime seen at the distance of our sun.

The results surprised the team, showing huge and erratic fluctuations in the jet activity on timescales ranging from 11 seconds to a few hours. The observations are like a dance of infrared colors and show the size of the jet's base varies. Its radius is approximately 15,000 miles (24,140 kilometers) with dramatic changes by as large as a factor of 10 or more.

"If you think of the black hole's jet as a firehose, then it's as if we've discovered the flow is intermittent and the hose itself is varying wildly in size," Poshak said.

The new data also allowed astronomers to make the best measurements yet of the black hole's magnetic field, which is 30,000 times more powerful than the one generated by Earth at its surface. Such a strong field is required for accelerating and channeling the flow of matter into a narrow jet. The WISE data are bringing astronomers closer than ever to understanding how this exotic phenomenon works.

JPL manages and operated WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The spacecraft was put into hibernation mode after it scanned the sky twice, completing its main objectives. The mission was selected under NASA's Explorers Program, which is managed by the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

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2.2 / 5 (6) Sep 21, 2011
"Most of the material is pulled into the black hole"
"Some of the material is blasted away"

I have never seen any quantitative measurements of the ratio of these two figures. "Most" and "Some" just don't cut it.

It would seem to the that the amount of material spewing out of black holes versus the amount falling in , either this one or the SMBH's at the center of active galaxies, would be of enormous importance. Has anyone ever seen such numbers being reported?

- Mike
not rated yet Sep 21, 2011
May someone clear my mind on this issue? Can infra red rays escape a blackhole?
5 / 5 (4) Sep 21, 2011
May someone clear my mind on this issue? Can infra red rays escape a blackhole?

No, afaik they come from the surrounding heated Material.

5 / 5 (4) Sep 21, 2011
Enakoa: The acretion disk is far outside the event horizon.
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 21, 2011
Probably massive neutron stars have been mislabeled as black holes.

The universe, and everything in it, seem to consist of two forms of one fundamental particle:

Neutron <=> Hydrogen Atom

"Is the Universe Expanding?" The Journal of Cosmology 13, 4187-4190 (2011)


With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
4 / 5 (12) Sep 21, 2011
Probably massive neutron stars have been mislabeled as black holes.
Except that the math shows that Black Holes are inevitable. AND if your neutron revulsion was real there would be evidence for the long range repulsion that would be needed to stop a Black Hole from forming. Such long range repulsion would inherently stop Neutron Stars from forming as well.

Which I have pointing out to you for around a month now and you have yet to even admit that I mentioned it.

Don't you think it is about time you dealt with rather serious problem in your theory. If you don't you are spamming not engaging in science.

Failure to address this will result in this latest post and all similar posts as the spam it seems to be. Posting in a way that is indistinguishable from Mr Quality isn't Dignified is spam.

not rated yet Sep 22, 2011
ethelred, this is not the first time you brought this up to him. i know ive seen you bring it up alot longer than a month ago in the past. he evaded and ignored like always. no surprise.
1 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2011
Omatumr's posts (in a nutshell): With apologies to Ethelred;

"...the math shows that repulsions are inevitable."
1.7 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2011
whose math shows what? my math shows that Ethelfed is an idiot, Ethelred's math might show something else.
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2011

He has NO math to support his claims. One table that fits the Pauli Exclusion Principle is all he has. All the rest of his stuff is based on the assumption that both neutron repulsion exists and that the Sun and ALL stars have a neutron core and a rigid iron mantle not very deep below the photosphere.

All based on the one table and one other person's SPECULATION that the Sun MIGHT have a pulsar in it and he never did any follow up. And he sure hasn't supported Oliver in anyway.

3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2011
I think physorg is a good site. A good aggregator. But it is slowly being destroyed by one commenter. Is anyone at physorg listening?
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2011
whose math shows what?


Which shows why a Black Hole MUST form if you throw enough mass into a small enough volume. Such as the Black Hole in the center of our galaxy. The only way to avoid it is for Neutron Repulsion to be strong enough to overpower gravity no matter how strong the field and that sort of repulsion would stop neutron stars from forming and it would have a strong effect on the formation of atoms as well. Since massive atoms have MORE neutrons per proton than smaller atoms neutron repulsion it is rather hard to see how that is compatible with Neutron Repulsion. Oliver has refused to explain any of this. All he does is repeat the same stuff that he is being questioned about.>>
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2011
my math shows that Ethelfed is an idiot,
Then your math is that of an imbecile.

I am not the Feds and your use of that term implies that you are a sockpuppet for Oliver's lapdog, Kio.


Kio kept calling me a fed while Oliver called me a commie. As usual both are wrong.

Perhaps you aren't Kio. Perhaps you are just ignorant. Kio sure is. Now I must admit that the return of Kio could be entertaining. However I have never been one to fully understand the idea that going to Bedlam was once a form of entertainment. I think I can do without being reminded that even I have some of that in me. Perhaps more of his posts would help me get over that. But his posts made such good targets.

3 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2011
Poking fun. With "math" I meant people's reaction:

(People's reactions to Omatumr's posts shows repulsion is inevitable.)

For the misunderstanding I apologize.
3 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2011
Hush1 you do know that English is my FIRST language and that I tend to use it? Don't you? My Spanish consist of things like

Los Banos es ayi.
El caro primero es asuzio, limpio por favor.

And I can count to ten in German and there are few other terms I picked up reading Sgt. Fury. Merci and merde in French and my Japanese is pretty much limited to Hai.

So when someone uses the word 'math' I tend to think of actual mathematics. Sorry about that.

2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 23, 2011
WISE mission captures black hole's wildly flaring jet

I think it far more likely that the WISE mission captured the light from a plasma z-pinch resembling a wildly flaring jet.
not rated yet Sep 23, 2011
Hey Mr(?) admin, why has my comment not appeared ?
not rated yet Sep 25, 2011
How do I unsubscribe from this chickenshit site ?

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