The discovery of a black hole, in itself, is nothing new. However, every time astronomers come across one of these kinetic masses of energy, something is learned. This latest entity MQ1, which resides in the galaxy M83, has been studied over the course of the last year. Although once considered too small to be of significance, it is now believed to be exceedingly more powerful and structurally intense than any black hole found in our own galaxy, the Milky Way. These factors may allow for easier study concerning the actual formation of our universe.
Microquasars or black holes are extremely powerful balls of gas and radiation. The gravitational pull of any given black hole is so great that not even light can escape, hence, the origin of the term. However, at some point, these cosmic wonders do become visible to astronomers and scientists. This comes about as gas and dust are pulled into the hole’s atmosphere causing it to light up with radiation. At the same time as the matter is being pulled inward, excess gas and particles that overfill the black holes are being pushed away by powerful winds known as jets –a simple mass to energy ratio.
It was originally thought that black holes, particularly smaller ones like MQ1, could only produce a limited amount of energy. This was based on a theory known as the Eddington Limit, which in part entertains the idea that only so much radiation can be produced by a microquasar. However, after intense study of MQ1, led by Roberto Soria of the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research, scientists now know that original notion must be altered. The kinetic energy being produced by MQ1 is up to five times greater than ever imagined – with its jets pushing mass outward at roughly the speed of light.
The creation of such a black hole may happen when a star dies, leaving a space of robust gravity in its wake. As gas and particles are pulled inward, the brighter it’s periphery becomes with infrared and radio waves. This helped Soria and his team detect just how powerful MQ1 is, stating: “We have finally shown that even a small [black hole] can be so powerful…” Moreover, the strength with which black holes, such as MQ1, thrust particles and wind outward may actually prevent the formation of potentially nearby stars. The creation of the universe may very well have been impacted by such a theory. Soria, himself, is very much interested in the ”…influence black hole jets have in the evolution of young galaxies…”
Although M83 (MQ1’s host galaxy) is some 15 million light years away, it is considered to be close enough to be examined by scientists. For a while, MQ1 went unnoticed because of its relatively small size. However with the combination of the right tools, this black hole was discovered to be even more powerful than the most dominant black hole in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, with it’s powerful jets pushing out in excess of 20 light years.
By Josh Taub