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Regularly Feasting Black Hole

Astronomers Discover Supermassive Black Hole with Strict Feeding Schedule

Every day we are getting introduced with magnificent spectacles of the universe. Just a few months ago scientists captured a first-ever actual image of a black hole which proved the physical presence of black holes. Just as the world was hoarding over this impeccable achievement, a few days ago lead author of ESA Center for Astrobiology, Spain, Giovanni Miniutti made an announcement that a team of astronomers discovered a supermassive black hole, located 250 million light-years ahead of Earth with the mass of approximately 400,000 times that of the sun. While this can prove to be a stepping stone in the field of space exploration, it is a terrifying discovery because this supermassive black hole is regularly feasting at the interval of 9 hours.

Astronomers made the use of ESA’s XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra X-ray space observatory to find this supermassive black hole. The discovery of supermassive black hole isn’t that astounding because in the past, two such flaring supermassive black holes have been already discovered but the thing that sets this one apart, in particular, is that it is regular in its schedule and such kind of thing wasn’t observed in previous cases.

Black holes have a property that they tend to sparkle up via X-Rays whenever they are being fed and these sparkles were observed in every 9 hours by astronomers with the use of equipment in assigned laboratories. If we size up the amount of mass that this supermassive black hole is feasting then it would be equivalent to about 4 moons for every interval of 9 hours. Giovanni Miniutti stated that “This black hole is on a meal plan like we’ve never seen before.”


This concern is probably an indication that there are still some frightening things out there lurking in the space which are beyond man’s reach. Though this ultimate discovery can be a pivotal step in getting more information over black holes, in general, it still has caused a sense of uncertainty among the authorities involved in space research because there is a possibility that black holes portraying similar characteristics might just be within our galaxy.

It is still not known what actually caused this sparkle up. The intensity of these sparks was 20 times more while feeding compared to what was observed in normal instances which is what actually led to this ultimate discovery. Researchers have proposed many theories explaining the possible reason for this phenomenon to occur. Margherita Guistini who is co-author at ESA said that “We think the origin of the X-ray emission is a star that the black hole has partially or completely torn apart and is slowly consuming bit by bit.”

Though, this doesn’t completely satisfy the cause of phenomenon because this feeding is being observed for every 9 hours constantly. All of this boils down to the fact that our walls of intelligence haven’t reached the mark where we can apply theoretical methods to find the solution. There is still a long way to go for humanity to strive in this endless universe.

Journal: arxiv

About the author: Sai Teja Moderator
Sai Teja is a second-year computer science undergraduate at the University of Hyderabad. With expertise in many modern technologies like Machine Learning, he is also a blogger and has interests in digital marketing and SEO also. He has a dream to build a single internet destination for science and technology enthusiasts

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