Astronomers witness the wake of a supermassive black hole in real time

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Astronomers witness the wake of a supermassive black hole in real time

Astronomers have seen changes that have never been seen before GalaxyPerhaps as a result of the enormous sudden awakening black hole At its core.

A team of astronomers sees changes never seen before GalaxyPerhaps as a result of a sudden awakening black hole A step is at its center The study was published Tuesday in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics It was carried out by the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Long Distance Telescope (VLT).

At the end of 2019, Galaxy SDSS1335+0728, previously undetected, suddenly began to shine brighter than ever.

“Imagine you are being watched Galaxy For many years it has always seemed quiet and inactive from a distance and suddenly its core starts to show drastic changes in brightness in a completely different way than seen before,” says Paula Sánchez Sáez, astronomer at ESO in Germany and lead author of the study.

To understand why, the team used archival data from several space and ground-based observatories as well as new observations to study how its brightness has changed. Galaxy.

By comparing data taken before and after December 2019, they found that SDSS1335+0728 is now emitting more light in the ultraviolet, optical and infrared wavelengths. The Galaxy It began emitting X-rays in February 2024.

“The most convincing option to explain this phenomenon is that we see what its core looks like. Galaxy is starting to show activity,” says co-author Lorena Hernández García of the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics (MAS) and the University of Valparaíso in Chile.

Because of this significant brightness increase, Chile Machine Learning for Rapid Classification of Events (ALERCE) classified SDSS1335+0728 as an “active galactic nucleus” (AGN), a small and bright region. black hole Massive.

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Although previous studies indicate that Galaxies This is the first time that this process awakens itself, being active after years of inactivity black holeObserved in real time.

“This behavior is unprecedented,” says Sánchez Sáz, who is affiliated with the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics (MAS) in Chile.

Now, more than four years after its “ignition” was first observed, the galaxy, SDSS1335+0728, continues to increase in brightness, ruling out other events such as supernova explosions or tidal disruptions (when the star gets too close to a black hole and torn) it also does Galaxies Suddenly but a few hundred days at most.

Also, variations detected in GalaxyLocated 300 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo, it is a new phenomenon unlike any seen before, an unusually slow or even tidal disruption event.

“Regardless of the nature of the differences, this Galaxy Provides valuable information about how animals grow and develop. black holes”The study’s lead author concludes.

(with information from EFE)

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