Hubble Discovers Mysterious Black Hole Disc

Astronomers who are using the NASA or ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed that at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, there is an unforeseen thin disc of material encircling a supermassive black hole and is located 130 million light-years away.

Astronomers are surprised due to the existence of the black hole disc in such a low-luminosity active galaxy. Black holes in definite types of galaxies like NGC 3147 measured to be starving as there is inadequate gravitationally captured material for feeding them on a regular basis. 

The disc of material circling the black hole provides an exceptional opportunity to test theories of the relativity of Albert Einstein. According to these theories the disc is so intensely embedded in the black hole’s intense gravitational field so that the light from the gas disc is distorted. This gives a unique peek at the dynamic processes to astronomers to a black hole. 

A team member Marco Chiaberge of AURA for ESA, STScI and Johns Hopkins University said, ‘We have never seen the impacts of special and general relativity in observable light with this much clarity’. 

The material of disc was measured by Hubble to be rotating around the black hole at over 10% of the speed of light. 

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of global cooperation between NASA and ESA. Moreover, the team hopes to use Hubble for hunting for other very packed in discs in the region of low-luminosity black holes in alike active galaxies.


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