Knowledge Bomb: Chandra Finds Fastest Wind From Stellar-Mass Black Hole

This is the fullest size version - click to enlarge it - but other, smaller sizes are available depending on your desktop size as needed.

This latest from the good folks at NASA is truly remarkable and something out of science fiction and wildest fantasy! Just imagine it: A Black hole that literally pulling a sun (or some of it at least) slowly into itself. This is the stuff I live for and this artists interpretation is remarkably well done and I don’t know about you but it definitely makes my brain go all wild!

Oh and the image is originally from HERE where you can go to find the same in 3/4 different sizes and free for download if – like me – you are inclined to use this as your desktop or just to keep it to come back to now and again. Enjoy!

This artist’s impression shows a binary system containing a stellar-mass black hole called IGR J17091-3624, or IGR J17091 for short. The strong gravity of the black hole, on the left, is pulling gas away from a companion star on the right. This gas forms a disk of hot gas around the black hole, and the wind is driven off this disk.

New observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory clocked the fastest wind ever seen blowing off a disk around this stellar-mass black hole. Stellar-mass black holes are born when extremely massive stars collapse and typically weigh between five and 10 times the mass of the Sun.

The record-breaking wind is moving about twenty million miles per hour, or about three percent the speed of light. This is nearly ten times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole, and matches some of the fastest winds generated by supermassive black holes, objects millions or billions of times more massive.

Another unanticipated finding is that the wind, which comes from a disk of gas surrounding the black hole, may be carrying away much more material than the black hole is capturing.

The high speed for the wind was estimated from a spectrum made by Chandra in 2011. A spectrum shows how intense the X-rays are at different energies. Ions emit and absorb distinct features in spectra, which allow scientists to monitor them and their behavior. A Chandra spectrum of iron ions made two months earlier showed no evidence of the high-speed wind, meaning the wind likely turns on and off over time.


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