Universe

Hole in Virgo. Black holes, deep space

Hole in Virgo. Black holes, deep space

NGC 4438 is a peculiar galaxy located in the Virgo cluster, 50 million light years from Earth. The central bright region corresponds to the accumulation disk around the central black hole. Perpendicular to the disk two jets of particles, ejected at high speed, arise in opposite directions. When they collide with the surrounding gas, they produce the bubbles seen in the image in false color (red corresponds to the hottest gas). The brightest bubble is 800 light years in diameter.

With its powerful mirror pointing towards the galaxy NGC 4438, the Hubble Space Telescope captured how the supermassive black hole that inhabits its center throws hot gas balloons outward, in opposite directions. The images show a reddish bubble rising from a cloud of dust and a dimmer one descending. These gas balloons are caused by the attraction of black holes.

Part of this matter is watered in opposite directions from the central disk that forms the swirl, and in its path sweeps more matter such as a hose when discharging its jet over loose soil. These jets sometimes strike against a barrier of gas clouds moving slowly. That impact is what produces the bubbles that Hubble caught in his photograph. The upper bubble, which measures 800 light years in diameter, is brighter because it was born from the shock of those jets of matter with a cloud of gas much denser than the one formed by the lower bubble.

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