Supermassive black holes may cause the largest “tsunami” in the universe
Toronto-when an underwater earthquake on the earth occurs, it triggers a tsunami-a huge ripple effect.
Now, a new study shows that in space, supermassive black holes may produce a tsunami-like structure.
NASA-funded research published on June 15 In the Astrophysical JournalResearchers used computer simulations to simulate the environment of a supermassive black hole and found that a tsunami-like structure can be formed by gas escaping from the black hole’s gravity.
NASA said these structures may be the largest tsunami-like structures in the universe.
Supermassive black holes have a mass greater than one million suns and are considered the largest black hole category. These black holes feed on the matter and gas that revolve around them, forming a system called “active galactic nuclei” by astrophysicists.
Strong winds driven by X-ray radiation from the center of the nucleus produce what astrophysics calls “outflow”, pushing matter out of the center. In the outflow, X-rays can create gas clouds around the black hole.
Lead author Tim Waters said at a press conference: “These clouds are ten times hotter than the sun’s surface and move at the speed of the solar wind, so they are strange objects you don’t want airplanes to fly over.” From NASA.
During the simulation, Waters and his team discovered that when the black hole loses control of matter, these clouds form waves. NASA said these waves can further spiral into the vortex structure 10 light-years away from the black hole when interacting with the hot wind.
The simulation also shows that X-rays from the plasma near the black hole expand the hot gas in the black hole’s atmosphere, causing the hot plasma to rise like a balloon and meet the surrounding colder gas cloud.
This allows clouds to form a pattern, which astrophysicists call the Carmen Vortex Street, similar to a tsunami structure.
Previous theories indicate that clouds are formed spontaneously through fluid instability, or magnetic fields are involved in pushing colder gas into the wind.
“Although it all made sense in hindsight, it was initially observed that thermal instability cannot directly produce cold gas, but it can replace the magnetic field by blowing cold gas into the wind,” Waters said.
NASA said these findings have not been observed by satellites, but the observatory on Earth has observed the plasma near the active galactic nuclei in these black holes at temperatures and speeds consistent with simulations.