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V404Cyg XRT halo fullsize

Scientists discover black hole emitting plasmic clouds by devouring on companion star

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) has detected high-speed plasmic clouds emitted from the black hole V404 Cygni. It lies in the constellation Cygnus which is 7800 light years from our galaxy.

V404 Cygni consists of a black hole which is about nine times the Sun’s mass and a companion red star which is smaller than the sun.

The black hole is slowly eating up the red star. The closest regions of the accretion disc are very dense, hot and plasma is emitted as the star gets lost in the black hole.


XMM-Newton, the X-ray observatory of the European Space Agency has confirmed the presence of a “gravitational vortex” surrounding black holes. With the help of Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) of NASA, this finding solves a question which has eluded the researchers for a long time. This will help the astronomers to study the properties and functioning of matter which are located close to the black holes. Besides this, it will also lead to experiments in future for investigating the general relativity theory of Albert Einstein.

As soon as matter drops into a black hole, it gets highly heated before reaching its end. Its temperature goes very high, up to millions of degrees, as it is lost forever inside the black hole. As a result of this, it emits X-Rays in space.

During the 1980s, the astronomers used earlier models of X-Ray telescopes to discover that the X-Rays flicker from the black holes in our galaxy, Milky Way. These changes follow a pattern. When the flickering of X-Rays start, it takes about 10 seconds for the dimming and brightening to complete. With progress in time, this time period reduces slowly to 10 oscillations in one second. Then suddenly the flickering stops.

This is called as Quasi Periodic Oscillation. This makes it possible for the astronomers to know about and understand the innermost areas of accretion disks and also the masses, spinning periods of black holes, neutron stars. It can help in testing the general relativity theory of Einstein that makes the observations vastly different from Newton’s rules of gravity.

Adam Ingram from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands remarked that this phenomenon QPO was instantly identified as something very interesting and fascinating since it is so closely related to the black hole. Ingram started working on QPOs for his thesis in 2009.

It was during the ’90s that scientists predicted that the QPO could be associated with the gravitational vortex as predicted from relativity theory that a spinning matter will give rise to a gravitational vortex. Anything which orbits around a spinning object will have an effect on its motion. The orientation of the entire orbit will change around the central object. The time taken to come back to the original state is called precession cycle.

About the author: Kalpit Veerwal
Kalpit Veerwal is a second year Computer Science undergraduate at IIT Bombay. He is well known for being the only person to score 360/360 in JEE (Main). He is registered in the Limca Book of Records for the same. A blogger in his free time, he has also secured top ranks in various exams held in India and the world.

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