Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space

Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space
Schematic artist's impression of the changing jet orientation in V404 Cygni. Each segment (as separated by the clock hands) shows the jets at a different time, oriented in different directions as seen in our high angular resolution radio imaging. Credit: ICRAR

Astronomers have discovered rapidly swinging jets coming from a black hole almost 8000 light-years from Earth.

Published today in the journal Nature, the research shows jets from V404 Cygni's black hole behaving in a way never seen before on such short timescales.

The jets appear to be rapidly rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma—potentially just minutes apart—shooting out of the black hole in different directions.

Lead author Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said are some of the most extreme objects in the Universe.

"This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I've ever come across," Associate Professor Miller-Jones said.

"Like many black holes, it's feeding on a nearby star, pulling gas away from the star and forming a disk of material that encircles the black hole and spirals towards it under gravity.

"What's different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned."This appears to be causing the inner part of the disk to wobble like a spinning top and fire jets out in different directions as it changes orientation."

Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space
Artist's impression of V404 Cygni seen close up. The binary star system consists of a normal star in orbit with a black hole. Material from the star falls towards the black hole and spirals inwards in an accretion disk, with powerful jets being launched from the inner regions close to the black hole. Credit: ICRAR

V404 Cygni was first identified as a black hole in 1989 when it released a big outburst of jets and radiation.

Astronomers looking at archival photographic plates then found previous outbursts in observations from 1938 and 1956.

Associate Professor Miller-Jones said that when V404 Cygni experienced another very bright outburst in 2015, lasting for two weeks, telescopes around the world tuned in to study what was going on.

"Everybody jumped on the outburst with whatever telescopes they could throw at it," he said.

"So we have this amazing observational coverage."

When Associate Professor Miller-Jones and his team studied the black hole, they saw its jets behaving in a way never seen before.

Where jets are usually thought to shoot straight out from the poles of black holes, these jets were shooting out in different directions at different times.

Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space
Artist's impression of jet ejections in V404 Cygni. With our radio telescopes, we see individual bright clouds of plasma that have been ejected from the innermost regions, and redirected by the puffed-up inner accretion disk. Credit: ICRAR

And they were changing direction very quickly—over no more than a couple of hours.

Associate Professor Miller-Jones said the change in the movement of the jets was because of the accretion disk—the rotating disk of matter around a black hole.

He said V404 Cygni's accretion disk is 10 million kilometres wide, and the inner few thousand kilometres was puffed up and wobbling during the bright outburst.

"The inner part of the accretion disk was precessing and effectively pulling the jets around with it," Associate Professor Miller-Jones said.

"You can think of it like the wobble of a spinning top as it slows down—only in this case, the wobble is caused by Einstein's theory of general relativity."

The research used observations from the Very Long Baseline Array, a continent-sized radio telescope made up of 10 dishes across the United States, from the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean to Hawaii.

Co-author Alex Tetarenko—a recent Ph.D. graduate from the University of Alberta and currently an East Asian Observatory Fellow working in Hawaii—said the speed the jets were changing direction meant the scientists had to use a very different approach to most radio observations.

Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space
Artist’s impression of twisted space-time around the spinning black hole. The black hole is so dense that it creates a rupture in the very fabric of space time, seen here as the infinitely deep well in the centre. As the black hole spins, it drags spacetime around with it, giving rise to the twisting of the spacetime grid shown here. This leads to the precession of the inner puffed-up accretion disk. Credit: ICRAR

"Typically, radio telescopes produce a single image from several hours of observation," she said.

"But these jets were changing so fast that in a four-hour image we just saw a blur.

"It was like trying to take a picture of a waterfall with a one-second shutter speed."Instead, the researchers produced 103 individual images, each about 70 seconds long, and joined them together into a movie.

"It was only by doing this that we were able to see these changes over a very short time period," Dr. Tetarenko said.

Study co-author Dr. Gemma Anderson, who is also based at ICRAR's Curtin University node, said the wobble of the inner accretion disk could happen in other extreme events in the Universe too.

"Anytime you get a misalignment between the spin of a black hole and the material falling in, you would expect to see this when a black hole starts feeding very rapidly," Dr. Anderson said.

"That could include a whole bunch of other bright, explosive events in the Universe, such as supermassive black holes feeding very quickly or tidal disruption events, when a black hole shreds a star."


Explore further

Cosmic jets light up black hole's snack

More information: A rapidly changing jet orientation in the stellar-mass black-hole system V404 Cygni, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1152-0 , https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1152-0
Journal information: Nature

Provided by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research
Citation: Spinning black hole sprays light-speed plasma clouds into space (2019, April 29) retrieved 18 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-black-hole-light-speed-plasma-clouds.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1507 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 29, 2019
Cool.

Apr 29, 2019

Jax, don't be so gullible...
Clumsy writing & mediocre editing for this poor, abused article as posted to this site.

"What's different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned."This appears to be causing the inner part of the disk to wobble like a spinning top and fire jets out in different directions as it changes orientation."

Which contradicts the clickbait headline &
"The jets appear to be rapidly rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma—potentially just minutes apart—shooting out of the black hole in different directions."

Which will only be believed by plazmaspazzma looneyticks.

I urge you to read the abstract for a more accurate rendition of this research team's conclusions.


Apr 29, 2019
"But these jets were changing so fast that in a four-hour image we just saw a blur."

So they had to improvise in order to slow down the action so that it could be seen better. Blurs aren't allowed when you consider that the 'scopes are used by other scientists for different purposes, therefore there are finite schedules made for each viewing.

"It was like trying to take a picture of a waterfall with a one-second shutter speed."Instead, the researchers produced 103 individual images, each about 70 seconds long, and joined them together into a movie."

But why wasn't the 4-hour image that showed as a blur have been slowed down instead of producing 103 separate images, joining them together, and still having to slow down the action to see what was going on?
Hollywood films occasionally film the action in normal time and then use the "slow-motion" feature if the script calls for it making a more surreal effect.

Apr 29, 2019
Cool.
says JaxPavan

This article reminds me of a "Catherine Wheel" although not quite the same principle. :)

https://en.wikipe...irework)

Apr 29, 2019
The DOI seems to not be found, according to the message.

But the link to:

https://www.natur...9-1152-0

is working.

Apr 29, 2019
Theory meets Reality in this Vacuum, V404 Cygni

This blackhole
This singularity
This eventhorizon
This infinite gravity
This infinite density
This blackhole
of no escape
This blackhole, V404 Cygni
where
V404 Cygni jets appear to be rapidly rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma—potentially just minutes apart—shooting out of the black hole in different directions

The defining definition
nothing escapes this blackhole because everything is compressed to this infinity
Inside this horizon of no escape, this eventhorizon

Its moments likes these
that brings these blackholes down to earth
what we observe in V404 Cygni
is not a true blackhole according to theory
V404 Cygni with plasma shooting out of this blackhole in different directions is a blackhole Imposter

Apr 29, 2019
These Artist's Impressions are likened to a breath of fresh air

These artists impression are a welcome return
After all those dreadful nauseating Selfies
It would be interesting to see this raw data of these jets
and how they demonstrated the existence of these outflow spiralling jets
as
Long as this does not involve looking at anything that remotely reminds us of this Selfie

Apr 29, 2019
Theory meets Reality in this Vacuum, V404 Cygni

This blackhole
This singularity
This eventhorizon
This infinite gravity
This infinite density
This blackhole
of no escape
This blackhole, V404 Cygni
where
V404 Cygni jets appear to be rapidly rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma—potentially just minutes apart—shooting out of the black hole in different directions

nothing escapes this blackhole because everything is compressed to this infinity
Inside this horizon of no escape, this eventhorizon

Its moments likes these
that brings these blackholes down to earth
what we observe in V404 Cygni
is not a true blackhole according to theory
V404 Cygni with plasma shooting out of this blackhole in different directions is a blackhole Imposter
says granville

Absolutely. And this imposter is too grotesque to be a proper Black Hole. Who ever heard of a Black Hole spewing its guts out in all directions, when everyone KNOWS that Gravity won't stand for it.

Apr 29, 2019
Well, we've heard from the clown cart of looneytoons.
Who are incapable of reading through the complete article as posted.

Cause? That's hard work!
Makes their simian brains hurt.

Here in the real world it is, without any doubt what so ever.
A flagrant error, anytime some careless fool fails to clearly state that the only thing that ever exits a Black Hike?
Is Gravitational Attraction.
(res, PERIOD)

As soon as you saw the blatant errors in the first paragraph?

The intelligent, sane person would immediately check out the Abstract to clarify accurate phrasing.
& if available, go back to the original peer-reviewed papers for verification.
Of what the researchers had actually said.

Jax, granny & sillyegghead couldn't be bothered.

Apr 29, 2019
Amusingly the plasma ignoramuses are now incorporating the toroidal plasmoid in their "artistic impressions" of jet producing galactic cores. LOL!

Apr 29, 2019
Amusingly the plasma ignoramuses are now incorporating the toroidal plasmoid in their "artistic impressions" of jet producing galactic cores. LOL!
says CD85

rrwillis seems to have missed reading my previous post where i said that the DOI wasn't working, but that the web address was working OK. In any case, CD, if there was a 'toroidal plasmoid' in that squirrely Black Hole, it should all have been mixed together nicely and then spewed outward at top speed. And here we are on this planet, light years away from this strange object, making me wonder if the possibility exists that "it" and "us" are existing simultaneously in 'real time' - being that the image of the object is coming to us over vast distances and light years, so that the object itself might not even exist anymore. But we are still "seeing" the image of the object whether it is still there or not. The scientists that I've asked don't seem to know.

Apr 30, 2019
oh sillyeffhead, between not reading your nonsense & not reading cant's ravings?

Saves me from wasting a lot of time.

May 06, 2019

Absolutely. And this imposter is too grotesque to be a proper Black Hole. Who ever heard of a Black Hole spewing its guts out in all directions, when everyone KNOWS that Gravity won't stand for it.
Lol its yet another goofball to prop up the goofy einstein

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more