‘No one has ever seen anything like this’: Scientists report black hole ‘burping’

Oct 23, 2022, 9:00 AM

(NSF) The very first photo of a black hole captured from the Event Horizon Telescope.

(NSF)

(CTV Network) — Scientists say a black hole has begun ejecting material years after it consumed a small star, a phenomenon described as similar to “burping” after a meal and a first for researchers.

A study published on Oct. 11 in The Astrophysical Journal suggests the black hole, in a galaxy 665 million lights years away from Earth, is shooting material at half the speed of light after ripping apart a star that wandered too close to it in October 2018. The research team behind the study says it is unsure why this outflow was delayed by several years.

“This caught us completely by surprise — no one has ever seen anything like this before,” lead author Yvette Cendes, a research associate at the Center for Astrophysics, a collaboration between Harvard University and the Smithsonian, said in a news release.

Researchers observed the event while revisiting tidal disruption events (TDE), when encroaching stars are “spaghettified” by black holes. Radio data from the very large array of radio telescopes in New Mexico showed the black hole had reanimated in June 2021, they say.

As a star nears a black hole, gravitational forces stretch it out, the researchers say. The material then spirals around the black hole and heats up, creating a flash that astronomers can observe millions of light years away. Some material is occasionally flung into space. But, the scientists say this outflow normally happens quickly after a TDE, not years later.

“It’s as if this black hole has started abruptly burping out a bunch of material from the star it ate years ago,” Cendes said. Even though the material is travelling at 50 per cent the speed of light, most TDEs have outflow that travels at 10 per cent of the speed of light, Cendes said.

The team says the results may help scientists better understand the feeding behavior of black holes. One question researchers hope to explore is whether this phenomenon happens more often than previously thought.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

taylorsville police k-9 officers shown. A resolution recognizing this week as National Police Week ...

Josuee Sanchez

A resolution recognizing this week as National Police Week has passed

Utah Senator Mitt Romney supports a resolution to recognize this week as "National Police Week." In Sergeant Bill Hooser's remembrance and all officers that sacrificed their lives for their community.

3 hours ago

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased ...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Summit County to acquire largest open space in its history for $55 million

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased after grant funding is made available in 2025.

4 hours ago

In an act of brotherhood between nations New York City and Dublin Ireland each put a public art ins...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Portal is Closed

An experiment in Brotherhood between nations ends with a twerk.

5 hours ago

Weeks before Pride Month starts up, Spy Hop is celebrating love in all of its forms with Queer Prom...

Josuee Sanchez

Spy Hop hosting its second annual Queer Prom Friday

Weeks before Pride Month starts up, Spy Hop is celebrating love in all of its forms with Queer Prom. The event is free to attend.

6 hours ago

The estate of Eric Richins is suing Kouri Richins for at least $13 million.  The new lawsuit accus...

Devin Oldroyd

Kouri Richins defense team asks for prosecution to be dismissed

Kouri Richins' defense team is asking that the prosecution be dismissed, alleging that prosecutors violated her Sixth Amendment rights.

7 hours ago

A "For sale" sign in front of a home in North Salt Lake. Home listings for sale went up 23% in Apri...

Tammy Kikuchi

Home listings for sale in Utah went up almost 23% in April

Deanna Devey with the Utah Association of Realtors shared insights of new listings for homes, the total supply of homes and the number of closed sales all increased in April.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

‘No one has ever seen anything like this’: Scientists report black hole ‘burping’