The Azerbaijan State News Agency

WORLD

A massive black hole may be 'waking up' in a nearby galaxy

A massive black hole may be 'waking up' in a nearby galaxy

Baku, June 20, AZERTAC

In December of 2019, the sky-scanning Zwicky Transient Facility — a telescope perched on California's Palomar Mountain — alerted astronomers to a sudden flare coming from an otherwise unremarkable galaxy some 300 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, according to Space.com.

The flare's intensity dipped and peaked dramatically over four years, but it continues to persist even today. That's unusually long for such a flare — so long, in fact, that it can't be explained by any typical cosmic phenomena.

"This behavior is unprecedented," Paula Sánchez-Sáez, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Germany, who led the discovery, said in a statement.

The researchers suspect we're witnessing a giant black hole lurking in the galaxy's heart as it wakes up from a deep slumber by feasting on surrounding gas. This gaseous material reaches scorching temperatures just before it falls into the cosmic abyss, creating light shows detectable by the Zwicky telescope. If that's really the case, this would be the first time we've spotted a black hole "switch on," Sánchez-Sáez and her colleagues announced on Tuesday (June 18).

A million times heavier than our sun, this black hole has been "sleeping" for at least the past two decades. The galaxy in which it resides, SDSS1335+0728, has been observed by astronomers for years, but a flare like the one sparked in 2019 "has never been observed before" in real-time, study co-author Lorena Hernández García, of the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics in Chile, said in the statement.

After analyzing a combination of archival observations gathered by multiple telescopes before and after the 2019 event, the researchers found the galaxy is now radiating "much more light" across multiple wavelengths including ultraviolet, optical and infrared.

It's possible the four-year-long flare is hinting that an ill-fated star once ventured too close to the black hole and became shredded, but even the slowest of black hole-induced stellar deaths last at most a few hundred days. Astronomers are still learning about various speeds with which black holes gobble nearby matter, which often defines how the black holes' host galaxies evolve over eons.

The years-long flaring seen in SDSS1335+0728 is unlikely to be due to explosive events known as supernovas that occur when stars run out of fuel supply necessary for intrinsic nuclear fusion and die, which are known to last for days or a handful of months — leaving astronomers none the wiser about what sparked the mysterious glow.

"With the data we have at the moment, it's impossible to disentangle which of these scenarios is real," Sánchez-Sáez told The Guardian. "We need to keep monitoring the source."

Share news on social media

Follow us on social network

Azerbaijani diaspora representatives from Kazakhstan visit Fuzuli and Shusha

Female judoka Mammadaliyeva and boxer Abdullayev to carry Team Azerbaijan flag at Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony

Azerbaijan and Israel explore prospects for educational cooperation

Inter Miami issues Lionel Messi injury update after Copa America final

Vietnamese President receives ambassadors of Turkic countries

“Birlestik-2024” international exercise ends

Azerbaijani female shooter earns Paralympic berth

Azerbaijan joins international roundtable on "Islamophobia and Education" in Malaysia

Baku hosts opening ceremony of Congress of Independence Movements from French-colonized territories VIDEO

Italy antitrust targets Armani, Dior after worker exploitation probes

US federal authorities warn of potential violence following Trump assassination attempt

Azerbaijani badminton players win two bronzes in Istanbul Youth Open 2024

Azerbaijan’s cultural capital of Shusha to host Vagif Poetry Days

Luka Modric signs new one-year Real Madrid contract

Azerbaijan`s Guba to host FIBA 3x3 Women's Series 2024

SOCAR and Slovenia`s Geoplin ink MoU on gas supply cooperation

Climate change is making days longer, scientists discover

Euronews: Summer in Azerbaijan has something for everyone

1 million Italians expected to be over 90 years old in next 3 years

® Birbank installment cardholders can now enjoy the option of paying in installments for their Trendyol payments

Centuries-old frescoes at Sumela Monastery in northeastern Türkiye undergo meticulous restoration

New Caledonian FM: We must find solution to steer away from this difficult path at Baku Congress

‘Baku Initiative Group announces scholarship for young people living in French colonies to study in Azerbaijan’ VIDEO

Member of New Caledonian Congress: Suppression of our rights by French state is inadmissible and unacceptable

ADB Approves Support for Rooftop Solar Systems in India

South Sudan faces growing humanitarian crisis, warns WHO

Bulgaria Is among European Countries with Biggest Share of University Graduates with Permanent Contract of Employment

Climate change making days slightly longer: Research

Azerbaijani energy minister meets with World Bank Regional Director for South Caucasus

IMF revises up Turkish economy's 2024 growth forecast to 3.6% from 3.1%

A cave on the moon is confirmed, and scientists suspect hundreds more like it could house future explorers

Magnitude 3.2 quake hits Azerbaijan’s Guba district

Azerbaijani oil price down in global markets

“Birlestik-2024” exercise demonstrates tactical episode, Defense Ministry VIDEO

Leadership of Azerbaijan Defense Ministry continues visit to Kazakhstan

Azerbaijan, Belarus discuss prospects for development of military-technical relations

Elon Musk plans to give $45 million a month to pro-Trump super PAC, WSJ reports

Gareth Southgate resigns as England head coach

® Nar congratulates students on the end of admission exams

Jeyhun Bayramov meets IOM Chief in Azerbaijan to discuss return of IDPs to their homes

Azerbaijan, Italy discuss developing of Middle Corridor and prospects of cooperation

Vaughan Gething resigns as first minister of Wales

® "Bakcell" introduced AI-powered "Tariff Advisor" in its app

® Digital Transformation and the Future of Artificial Intelligence: An Interview with Nariman Asadov

Volcanic activity continues at Mount Etna in Italy

Azerbaijan, Israel discuss energy cooperation

Baku to host 1st Congress of Independence Movements from French-colonized territories

Russia antivirus firm Kaspersky quits US after ban

Events held within “Birlestik-2024” exercise

Germany's rail system gets major overhaul

Rector of Transilvania University of Brașov visits Azerbaijan State University of Economics

Around the world walker set to swim Caspian Sea

Two Azerbaijani karate fighters shine in Kazakhstan Open

Roberta Metsola is re-elected president of European Parliament

Two hikers found dead in U.S. national park amid high temperatures

French superstar Kylian Mbappe signs contract with Real Madrid VIDEO

Azerbaijani rower ready for action in world championship in Bulgaria

IDEA organizes “Let’s protect gazelles!” environmental summer camp

PRCCSF Executive Director: Encouraging Azerbaijan-Pakistan private-sector partnerships will boost investment

Central Bank: $60 m worth of demand fully covered at FX auction

Azerbaijani defense minister visits Kazakhstan VIDEO

Scorching storms on distant worlds revealed

Azerbaijan presents 4th Voluntary National Review at UN headquarters VIDEO

Oil prices down in world markets

Trump makes 1st public appearance after assassination attempt

Kazakhstan’s low-cost carrier FlyArystan increases number of flights from Baku to Aktau

Azerbaijani oil price down in global markets

Spokesperson for US Department of State: Azerbaijan and Armenia have made incredible progress and have come a long way

Türkiye welcomes reopening of Azerbaijan’s embassy in Iran

Azerbaijan, World Bank discuss preparation of Country Partnership Framework for 2025-2029

Russian president’s special envoy: Specific decisions related to shallowing of the Caspian Sea are in preparation

Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission holds regular meeting

Azerbaijan is one of Russia’s main partners, says Russian presidential envoy

Admission of new conscripts in military units continues, Defense Ministry VIDEO

Switzerland playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri ends national-team career after standout goal at Euro 2024

Kuwait announces 'giant' oil discovery

US literary portal publishes poem by Molla Panah Vagif - prominent poet of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan’s Central Election Commission registers authorized representatives from three more political parties

'Serial killer' arrested after bodies found in Kenya dump

Treacherous Coup Attempt: July 15, 2016

Prime Minister Ali Asadov meets with World Bank Regional Director for South Caucasus

ANAMA: 397 unexploded ordnances neutralized over past week

Mazahir Panahov: Central Election Commission registered candidacies of 431 persons for parliamentary seats VIDEO

® Pay off your loans from other banks with favorable offers at Kapital Bank

Sambi Lokonga joins Sevilla on season-long loan

This Bill Gates-backed startup ıs making 'butter' from CO2 ınstead of cows

Kambwala leaves United and joins Villarreal

Egypt to drill oil, gas wells worth 1.2 bln USD in current fiscal year: minister

Azerbaijani mountaineer conquers world’s ninth-highest peak

Investments in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas sector witnessed growth

Argentina logs 520,000 dengue cases

Türkiye’s 1st homegrown satellite completes 3rd ignition in journey towards orbit

Australia not investing enough to prepare for catastrophic affects of H5N1 variant of bird flu, experts warn

Azerbaijani military pilots demonstrate high professionalism in “Birlestik-2024” exercise VIDEO

Azerbaijan, Morocco abolish visa regime

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Agency for State Support to NGOs announce joint grant competition

James scoops Copa America best player award as Martinez seals Golden Boot

Gymnast Gasimli bags another gold for Azerbaijan at Scalabis Cup 2024

Azerbaijan’s population hits 10,197,146

At least 5 killed in bombing targeting a busy café in the Somali capital, police say