Feeds

Dark HEAVY METAL star fires up jets, vomits hot ROCK into space

Black hole spews nickel and iron, intrigues sky-watching boffins

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A black hole has been spotted spurting out streams of iron and nickel, seeding the universe with heavy atoms that are part of the building blocks of planets, asteroids and stars.

Black hole

First I pull it in, then I spit it out ... Artist's impression of the hole in action

Typically, black holes put out jets of charged particles, thousands of light-years long, which disperse into surrounding galaxies. However, this is the first time a typical black hole has been spotted pumping out heavier atoms, such as nickel and iron, at two thirds the speed of light. Those two elements in particular make up much of the composition of one of the main classes of asteroids, as well as being abundant in rocky planets like Earth.

The European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space telescope snapped the black hole, dubbed 4U1630-47, spewing out jets of the material, and the findings are backed up by the Compact Array radio telescope in eastern Australia run by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

"Heavy atoms have been seen in jets from one other system, SS433, but that's a very unusual system, an oddball, whereas this system is quite typical, much more likely to represent black holes in general," CSIRO's Dr Tasso Tzioumis, a member of the research team.

The black hole is a dainty little thing, only a few times the mass of our Sun, but of a common type across the universe. Scientists are now looking at how these jet streams could affect galactic system development.

"Jets from supermassive black holes help determine a galaxy's fate - how it evolves," said Tzioumis. "So we want to understand better the impact jets have on their environment." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.