New data on the formation of relativistic jets in black holes


A researcher from the University of Barcelona, ​​who is currently working as a visiting researcher at the Astrobiology Center, participates in this study in which the composition of the relativistic jets emitted from the disks of black holes has been found.

It is known that black holes emit jets of relativistic matter in systems binary, in which they orbit together with a companion star, as in those located in the centers of galaxies, in the so-called quasars. These jets, also called jets, have been studied for decades; but its composition is still unknown. Now, a work published in Nature and led by researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB), the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and the University of Curtin (Australia), has been able to determine the existence of atomic nuclei in the relativistic jet from the black hole of the binary system 4U 1630-47.

«In this work we have found the composition of the relativistic jets emitted from the discs of the black holes, although more studies are needed to verify if these results can be extrapolated to other sources of relativistic jets », explains Simone Migliari, from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the UB (ICCUB) and currently a visiting researcher at the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA). According to Migliari, this study shows that relativistic jets "are heavy jets that contain atomic nuclei, rather than light jets (only formed by electrons and positrons). This discovery - he adds - also implies that heavy jets expel significantly more energy from the binary system than a light jet would expel. »

These baryonic jets, constituted by heavy matter, are probably powered by the disk. accretion and not so much by the rotation movement of the black hole. "The fact that this heavy material can be accelerated to relativistic speeds, implies that these systems must be sources of gamma rays and neutrino emission," concludes Migliari.

Black holes in binary systems trap material of his companions, thus forming a disc of material that rotates around the black hole at a great speed. As a result, the matter is compressed and heated enough to emit X-rays. In the work it has also been possible to estimate the speed of the jets, which is two thirds the speed of light. This data can be obtained by measuring the Doppler shift of the emission lines of detected iron atomic nuclei.

The observations were made in 2012 almost simultaneously through two types of facilities: on the one hand, the XMM telescopes Newton of the European Space Agency (ESA), which allowed to make observations in the range of X-rays, with which the disc surrounding the black hole can be observed; on the other hand, the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), used to make observations in the range of the radius, which allows to observe the relativistic jet.

Regarding the scope of the work published in Nature, it should be underlined that 4U 1630-47 is a typical binary system, very representative of accretion black holes in general; so these results can be extrapolated to other similar systems.


Simone Migliari, Universitat de Barcelona

Unit Scientific Culture of the CAB: Luis Cuesta


Fuente: UCC-CAB


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