Student of India-based institute creates violent black hole flares


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As massive as seven suns, it is around 10,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.

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Published: Sun 13 Oct 2019, 5:12 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Oct 2019, 7:16 PM

A pioneering and detailed high-speed movie of a growing black hole system has been created by a team of astronomers, according to the Hindustan Times.
Led by John Paice, a student at Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics (IUCAA), the team discovered new clues to understanding the immediate surroundings of black holes. These included violent flaring at the heart of a black hole system, said their study at the University of Southampton, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Journal.
The black hole system the team studied was MAXI J1820+070, first discovered in 2018. As massive as seven suns, it is around 10,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.
It was recorded using HiPERCAM instrument on the Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary Islands and in X-rays by NASA's NICER observatory aboard the International Space Station. The instruments allowed researchers to capture the violent 'crackling' and 'flaring' of X-ray and visible light from the black hole at over 300 frames per second
"The movie was made using real data but slowed down to 1/10th of actual speed to allow the most rapid flares to be discerned by the human eye," said Paice. "We can see how the material around the black hole is so bright, it's outshining the star that it is consuming and the fastest flickers last only a few milliseconds - that's the output of a hundred Suns and more being emitted in the blink of an eye."

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