NASA Catches Supermassive Black Hole Passing Gas

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NASA Catches Supermassive Black Hole Passing Gas

You probably know that a black hole has gravity so strong that not even light can escape, but not everyone realizes that the largest black holes, like those at the center of galaxies, also spew matter back out. In the case of galaxy NGC 5548, the supermassive black hole at its center was observed to have a persistent wind of ionized gases coming out at 621 miles per second (1000 km/s), but that’s nothing compared to what was just discovered.

Newly detected winds reach 3000 miles per second

“These new winds reach speeds of up to 3,107 miles (5,000 kilometers) per second, but are much closer to the nucleus than the persistent wind,” said lead scientist Jelle Kaastra of the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research in a statement. “The new gas outflow blocks 90 percent of the low-energy X-rays that come from very close to the black hole, and it obscures up to a third of the region that emits the ultraviolet radiation at a few light-days distance from the black hole.”

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