Researchers discover cool dust around energetic active black holes
Researchers at the University of Texas, San Antonio, using observations from the stratospheric observatory for NASA Astronomy Infraroucie, Sofia, discovered that the dust surrounding the black holes lives and much angrier compact than previously thought.
Most, if not all, large galaxies contain a supermassive black hole in their center. Many of these black holes are relatively silent and inactive, like the center of our galaxy the Milky Way.
However, some supermassive black holes currently consume significant amounts of materials being formed, which translates into huge amounts of energy emission. These active black holes are called active galactic nuclei.
Previous studies have suggested that all active galactic nuclei have basically the same structure. The models indicate that the active nuclei of galaxies have a structure in the form of dust net, known as the bull that surround the supermassiform black hole.
Using the weak infrared instrument called the camera to obtain the SOFIA telescope, Forcast, the team observed infrared emissions around 11 supermassive black holes in the active nuclei of galaxies at distances of 100 million light years and more and determined the size, opacity And the distribution of dust in each core.
In an article published in the Monthly Notices magazine of the Royal Astronomical Society, the team reports that bulls are 30 percent lower than expected and that the maximum infrared emission is at longer infrared wavelengths than even expected . The implication is that the dust that obscures the central black hole is more compact than previously thought.
They also indicate that the active nuclei of galaxies radiate most of their energy in wavelengths that are not observable from the ground because the energy is absorbed by the vapor of water in the atmosphere.
SOFIA flies over 99 percent of the earth’s water vapor, allowing the group to research to characterize the properties of toroidal powder structures far infrared wavelengths.
“By using SOFIA, we could get as many detailed spatial observations as possible at these wavelengths, allowing us to make new discoveries about the characterization of the active scarecrow galactic dust cores,” said Lindsay Fuller PhD student at the University Of Texas in San Antonio and main author of the article published.
Future observations are required to determine whether all observed emission comes from bulls, or whether there is another component added to the total emission of active nuclei.
Enrique López-Rodríguez, principal investigator of the project’s research team and the scientific space at the SOFIA Universities Science Center, said: “So, our goal will be to use SOFIA to observe a larger sample of active galactic nuclei and longer wavelengths Long
This will allow us to more closely enforce the physical structure of the dusty environment that surrounds the active nuclei of galaxies. ”
SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP modified to carry a telescope 100 inches in diameter. This is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR. NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Calif., Runs the SOFIA program, scientists and mission operations in collaboration with Columbia University-based Space Research University and the Allemand SOFIA Institute (DSI) Of Stuttgart.
The aircraft is based at the 703 Hangar of Armstrong NASA Aviation Research Center in Palmdale, California.