Melbourne: Astronomers have discovered a black hole, almost 8,000 light-years from Earth, pumping rapidly swinging plasma jets into the surrounding universe at a speed so fast that it is dragging spacetime. The research, published in the journal Nature, shows jets from V404 Cygni’s black hole behaving in a way never seen before on such short timescales. The jets appear to be rapidly rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma – potentially just minutes apart – shooting out of the black hole in different directions. “This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I have ever come across,” said Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, from the Australia’s Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).
Like many black holes, it is feeding on a nearby star, pulling gas away from the star and forming a disk of material that encircles the black hole and spirals towards it under gravity. “What is different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned,” Miller-Jones said in a statement. “This appears to be causing the inner part of the disk to wobble like a spinning top and fire jets out in different directions as it changes orientation,” he said. As the black hole spins, it drags spacetime around with it, leading to the precession of the inner puffed-up accretion disk, researchers said. V404 Cygni was first identified as a black hole in 1989 when it released a big outburst of jets and radiation. When Miller-Jones and his team studied the black hole, they saw its jets behaving in a way never seen before. –PTI
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