The Hubble Space Telescope, run by NASA and ESA, is great for capturing objects distant from space. Black holes, which are impossible to actually see, give their position away thanks to the galaxies that often surround them, but a new survey has revealed a black hole with a slice of material which, according to what we believe we know about black holes, should not Even be there.
The black hole is in the heart of the galaxy NGC 3147, a spiral galaxy that sits 130 million light-years from Earth. Due to the status of the galaxy, scientists had guessed that the black hole was essentially starving, but the presence of a material disc strikes that assumption.
Active galaxies feeding supermassive black holes in their centers often produce a ring of debris that surrounds the black hole. When the material gets too close, it cools, but in less active galaxies, the black holes in the core do not have the force of gravity to continuously draw materials from the surrounding galaxy.
"The kind of disc we see is a scaled-down quasar that we didn't expect to exist," Stefano Bianchi, first author of a new paper on the black hole published Monthly Announcements from the Royal Astronomical Society said in a statement. "It's the same kind of disc we see in objects that are 1000 or even 100,000 times brighter. The predictions of current models of very weak active galaxies clearly failed."
Forward, the team plans to put their views on similar galaxies to determine if this observation is representative of a trend or just a bizarre anomaly.