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Rare Spectacle: Gaint Black Hole Gobbles Up Celestial Object Worth 14 Jupiters

APRIL 05, 2013

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Astrophysicists have been sable to spot a black hole gobbling up a planet-sized object in a galaxy 4.7 crore light years away (1482192000000000 Kilometres). (1 Light Year = Distance travelled by light in one year, Speed of light= 3 l lakh kilometers/ second)

Black hole


The observation made using the European Space Agency’s INTEGRAL satellite project, revealed a slumbering black hole eating up a giant, low-mass object that had come too close. In the NGC 4845 galaxy, the scientists saw a light flare coming from a black hole, which is 300, 000 heavier than the Sun and had been inactive for more than 30 years.


A black hole is an object having such a gravitational pull that no object can escape its grip. Matter-sucking black holes normally remain dormant at the centre of galaxies, but can be tracked sometimes by the scraps from their stellar “meals”. This one had woken up and guzzled up an object 15 times heavier than the Jupiter — after taking 3 months to drag it from its path. It managed to swallow 10 % of its total mass, with the rest remaining in orbit.


A similar "feast" is likely for another massive black hole in the Milky Galaxy, possibly before the year-end. While there are no brown dwarfs or planets for food, a compact cloud of gas equal to a few Earth masses has been seen spiralling towards the black hole and is predicted to meet its fate soon.


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