A monster black hole has been seen belching a huge "double burp" after wolfing down stars, gas and planets sucked from a nearby galaxy.
In space, no-one can hear you burp. The team found radiation at the centre of the galaxy that showed that the black hole was feasting about million years ago.
The research was presented yesterday at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Washington, DC. Unfortunately for supermassive black holes, we can still see them belching. These supermassive black holes are million times heavier than the Sun and scientists consider that these holes are in the centre of every galaxy.
"There are a lot of examples of black holes with single burps emanating out, but we discovered a galaxy with a supermassive black hole that has not one but two burps".
Researchers noticed that a black hole had produced two "burping" events. X-ray emission from the galaxy in question - called SDSS J1354+1327 - was picked up by the Chandra telescope, allowing researchers to pinpoint the location of its central black hole. Scientists consider that the black hole exploded the gas twice because it might have two meals at the same time.
"This new burp is actually moving like a shockwave that is coming out very fast", said Dr Comerford.
"I thought of an analogy for this and I was debating whether to use it or whether it's a little too gross. imagine someone eating dinner at their kitchen table and they're eating and burping, eating and burping".
The observations are important because they support previous theories - not demonstrated until now - that black holes should go through these cycles.
'If our Milky Way's black hole became active again, we are far enough away from it that we would be fine. Comerford said that these events of bubbles appear after a black hole feeding process.
The scientists believe there were two burps in quick succession as the black hole consumed two separate "meals" of matter. This would provide plenty of cosmic gas on which a black hole could feast. "That collision led gas to stream towards the supermassive black hole and feed it two separate meals that led to these two separate burps", said the University of Colorado researcher.
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