The growth process of a black hole resembles that of a baby star

The growth process of a black hole resembles that of a baby star
The growth process of a black hole resembles that of a baby star

The magnetic winds in the black hole of ESO 320-G030 perform a similar function to those that form stars, although on a smaller scale (NASA/JPL-CALTECH)

The origin of supermassive black holes (SMBH) is still a mystery. mystery for scientists. This is because their masses are usually millions of times larger than those of the starsand it has not yet been possible to explain how they reach their size in a relatively short time, in relation to the estimated age of the universe.

Research conducted by scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and Northwestern University revealed that the central black hole of the galaxy ESO 320-G030which is 120 million light years away, could be growing in a similar way to the process involved in birth of the stars. In this way, it was possible to elucidate one of the possible mechanisms that these celestial bodies have to incorporate matter.

From measurements made by the ALMA telescope (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), the experts managed to detect a magnetized wind around the black hole. The high levels of infrared radiation emitted by the galaxy allowed the telescope to detect light between dense clouds of dust. Furthermore, ESO 320-G030 is more active than the Milky Wayas it is estimated to create stars ten times faster.

Supermassive black holes are usually found in the center of galaxies and their behavior affects the evolution of the entire system (Europa Press)

ALMA used the Doppler effect, which includes the variation of wavelength in relation to the position of the observer, to determine the behavior of the particles that form the magnetic wind. They focused on the light emitted by the molecules of Hydrogen cyanide, since its purpose was to study the gas that is as close as possible to the black hole. They were able to observe that the particles fulfilled a rotating pattern. While other processes within galaxies tend to push matter away from their center, this one would help it grow.

“We can see how the winds form a spiral structure that leaves the center of the galaxy. When we measured the rotation, mass, and velocity of the outward-flowing material, we were surprised to find that we could rule out many explanations for the wind’s strength, such as star formation. On the other hand, the outward flow can be driven by gas inlet and it appears to be held together by magnetic fields,” said Susanne Aalto, professor of Radio Astronomy at Chalmers University of Technology and co-author of the study.

The galaxy ESO 320-G030 is more active than the Milky Way as it forms stars at a rate ten times faster (NASA-ESA/D. Player/Handout via REUTERS)

He magnetized wind It is created thanks to the powerful magnetic fields present in the accretion disks composed of matter that surround black holes. Magnetic forces cause matter to move away from the galaxy and, consequently, form a spiral. “The loss of matter due to this wind also slows down the rotation of the disc, which means that matter can flow more easily towards the black hole, turning a thread into a current,” they comment from Chalmers University of Technology in a press release. This is how the black hole achieves consume matter to increase its mass.

It’s a way of regulate growth of the galactic center that does not suppose a process of feedbackwhich happens when the proportion of matter entering the black hole increases and, in response, large amounts of energy are released.

The magnetic wind that maintains the growth of the black hole performs a similar function to the winds that create the starsalthough the latter happens on much smaller scales.

Regions with dense, cold molecular clouds in galaxies are where stars form (Photo by Handout / NASA / AFP)

In galaxies there are regions in which they are found molecular clouds dense and low temperatures. “These huge clouds collapse under the force of gravity to form stars. Due to a nuclear fusion process, these first stars very efficiently converted hydrogen and helium into other elements such as carbon, oxygen, silicon or iron”, highlights from the ALMA observatory.

Its formation is driven by rotating winds that are the product of acceleration exerted by magnetic fields. They cause the matter to gather in the shape of a disk around the protostar in its initial stages spiral down towards her. The same thing happens in the center of the galaxy ESO 320-G030, although more observations are needed to determine if this phenomenon is common in all black holes. Future studies could reveal the consequences of evolution of this type of SMBH and, therefore, of galaxies.

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