Astronomers spy quartet of cavities from giant black holes

The X-ray was taken by NASA and the optical was taken by M.Calzadilla.

Four enormous bubbles were found at the center of a cluster of galaxies. The features may have been caused by eruptions from two black holes.

The universe is held together by gravity. They are a mixture of hundreds or even thousands of individual galaxies, enormous amounts of hot gas, and unseen dark matter. The hot gas that surrounds clusters contains more mass than the galaxies themselves, and it glows brightly in X-ray light. An enormous galaxy is usually found in the center of a cluster.

Two separate pairs of cavities were found in the center of the galaxy cluster, which is about 3.8 billion light-years away from Earth.

These types of cavities have been seen before in other galaxy clusters. The eruptions are thought to be the result of eruptions near a black hole. As matter flies away from the black hole as jets in opposing directions, it blows cavities in the hot gas. There are two sets of jets that are directed in opposite directions.

NASA/CXC/Univ. of Bologna.

The Chandra study was led by the University of Bologna in Italy, and they wanted to know what was going on when there were two different pairs in a cluster.

The pair of cavities in the east-west direction were previously observed by the astronomer, but only in a new Chandra observation. The deeper image uses almost five days of Chandra observing time, compared to 14 hours for the original observation. The Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array had already observed radio emission from two pairs of jets.

How was this created? The most likely answer is that there are two black holes in the same place that are launching jets in opposite directions.

Myriam Gitti, a co-author of the book, said that the best idea was that one pair of black holes led to a pair of cavities. The discovery of two close active black holes inflating cavities in RBS 797 is extraordinary because it is rare that both of them are observed in an active phase.

Two radio point sources separated by only 250 light-years were discovered by the European VLBI Network. If both sources are black holes, they are close to each other. The two black holes should spiral towards each other and eventually collide.

There is a possible explanation for the four cavities. The scenario involves only one supermassive black hole and jets that can flip around in direction very quickly. The age difference between the east-west and north-south is less than 10 million years old.

If only one black hole is responsible for these four cavities, we will have to trace the history of its activity. The co-author of the study said that the key aspects are how the jets' orientation changed quickly, and whether this is related to the galaxy cluster environment or to the physics of the black hole itself.

The Chandra program is managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge Massachusetts is in charge of science and flight operations.

There is evidence for two pairs of equidistant X-ray cavities in the Chandra view.

Astronomers spied a group of cavities from giant black holes on December 16, 2021.

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