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The surprising discovery of a massive outburst in a neighboring galaxy is giving astronomers a tantalizing look at what likely is a powerful belch by a gorging black hole at the galaxy's center. The scientists were conducting a long-term study of molecules in galaxies, when one of the galaxies showed a dramatic change.
Green highlights mine, choice of words theirs.
The scientists were using the National Science Foundation's (NSF) 305-meter William E. Gordon Telescope at Arecibo for their study when they discovered the outburst in NGC 660, a spiral galaxy 44 million light-years distant in the constellation Pisces. The outburst was ten times brighter than the largest supernova, or exploding star.
"High-resolution imaging is the key to understanding what's going on," said Emmanuel Momjian, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). "We needed to know if the outburst came from a supernova in this galaxy or from the galaxy's core. We could only do that by harnessing the high-resolution imaging power we get by joining widely-separated radio telescopes together."
The astronomers used a network called the High Sensitivity Array (HSA), composed of the NSF's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a continent-wide system of ten radio telescopes ranging from Hawaii to the Virgin islands; the Arecibo Telescope; the NSF's 100-meter Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia; and the 100-meter Effelsberg Radio Telescope of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany.
Originally posted by happykat39
The outburst was ten times brighter than the largest supernova, or exploding star.
In early November, 2011, a months-long blast of energy launched by an enormous black hole almost 11 billion years ago swept past Earth.
Located in the constellation Ursa Major, 4C +71.07 is so far away that its light takes 10.6 billion years to reach Earth. Astronomers are seeing this galaxy as it existed when the universe was less than one-fourth of its present age
I'm surprised by it.. not sure what to make of it exactly though. Doesn't this go against everything we thought a black hole was? I thought they just sucked up everything within a certain distance and eventually imploded? Where would an outburst of mass or energy come from?
They may also be able to tap into the energy released from the supermassive black holes which are believed to exist at the center of most galaxies.
Originally posted by palg1
reply to post by happykat39
Cool, how fast is the outburst moving, is it moving in our direction, how many decades/centuries before it hit, and what, if any, would be effect on our little planet?