Feeds

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

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

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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." ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.