Several Telescopes Are Monitoring a Black Hole’s Superfast Ejections

​A black hole, discharging material at about the speed of light, has been successfully monitored after it encountered an explosion in the summer of 2018.

Data on the black hole, known as MAXI J1820+070, have offered astronomers a more profound understanding of the way black holes feed energy into their environment. The study was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

Co-lead of the project, researcher Rob Fender said: “We’ve been studying this kind of jets for over 20 years and never have we tracked them so beautifully over such a large distance.”

The excessive distances from the black hole and the ultimate angular separation is amid the most massive seen from such systems. Its discharges are traveling so fast that they seem to be moving at a greater velocity than the speed of light. This phenomenon is known as ‘apparent superluminal motion.’

Observed by Several Telescope Arrays

The team of scientists based at The University of Oxford utilized the radio telescope network e-MERLIN, together with the VLA and MeerKAT telescopes located in the United States and South Africa, to monitor the ejecting material during a period of months.

Dr. Rob Beswick, chief of e-MERLIN science operations at Jodrell Bank, explained: “This work shows the power of world-class instruments such as e-MERLIN, MeerKAT and the VLA working in tandem. e-MERLIN’s unique combination of resolution, sensitivity, and rapid response made it the perfect instrument for this sort of study”.

e-MERLIN is a network of seven radio telescopes extending 217 kilometers (about 135 miles) across the United Kingdom by a superfast optical fiber array to its headquarters at Jodrell Bank Observatory. This array is the United Kingdom‘s facility for high-resolution radio astronomy observations, managed by The University of Manchester for the STFC.

The recently published study, “An extremely powerful long-lived superluminal ejection from the black hole MAXI J1820+070​” by J. S. Bright, R. P. Fender, R. A. M. J. Wijers is now available in the journal Nature Astronomy.​

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