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Space Dragons: Researchers Observe Energy Consumption in Quasars

5 Sep 2019, 20:38 UTC
Space Dragons: Researchers Observe Energy Consumption in Quasars
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Quasars are the Universe's brightest beacons; shining with magnitudes more luminosity than entire galaxies and the stars they contain. In the center of this light, at the heart of a quasar, researchers think, is an all-consuming black hole.Researchers, for the first time, have observed the accelerated rate at which eight quasars consume interstellar fuel to feed their black holes.They published their results on Sept 4th, Nature."As the most luminous steady beacons in the Universe, quasars are believed to be powered by an accretion disk around the central black hole," said Hongyan Zhou, paper author and faculty member at the University of Science and Technology of China. Zhou is also affiliated with the SOA Key Laboratory for Polar Science in the Polar Research Institute of China.Zhou compared the black hole to a starved dragon."The supermassive black hole in the center of the quasar gobbles up an enormous amount of nearby materials, which glare and shine when they constitute an accretion disk before finally sliding down in the black hole," Zhou said. "Outside the accretion disk, materials are continuously pumped from all directions to the center by gravity to feed the black hole with an endless appetite."An accretion disk is a spiraling ...

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