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." ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.