a team of astronomers has discovered what is being labeled as ‘the most energetic outflows ever witnessed in the universe.’ spotted using NASA’s hubble space telescope, these phenomena — known as quasar tsunamis — emanate from quasars and tear across interstellar space like tsunamis.
NASA explained the creation of the quasars and the energetic outflows that were viewed using the hubble space telescope:
‘quasars are extremely remote celestial objects, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy. quasars contain supermassive black holes fueled by infalling matter that can shine 1,000 times brighter than their host galaxies of hundreds of billions of stars.’
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‘as the black hole devours matter, hot gas encircles it and emits intense radiation, creating the quasar. winds, driven by blistering radiation pressure from the vicinity of the black hole, push material away from the galaxy’s center. these outflows accelerate to breathtaking velocities that are a few percent of the speed of light.’
astronomers studied 13 quasar outflows, and they were able to clock the breakneck speed of gas being accelerated by the quasar wind by looking at spectral ‘fingerprints’ of light from the glowing gas.
‘the hubble ultraviolet data show that these light absorption features created from material along the path of the light were shifted in the spectrum because of the fast motion of the gas across space,’ said NASA.
‘hubble’s ultraviolet observations allow us to follow the whole range of energy output from quasars, from cooler gas to the extremely hot, highly ionized gas in the more massive winds,’ added team member gerard kriss of the space telescope science institute in baltimore, maryland. ‘these were previously only visible with much more difficult x-ray observations. such powerful outflows may yield new insights into the link between the growth of a central supermassive black hole and the development of its entire host galaxy.’
NASA (109 articles)
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