Monster Black Hole Spews Fire at Galaxy



Tricolour image of the newly discovered RAD12, showing the optical image from CFHT (in Green/yellow) and radio images from GMRT (325 MHz in red) and MeerKAT (900 MHz in blue). During the merger of these two galaxies, the supermassive black hole at the centre of the smaller galaxy is shooting out a relativistic magnetised plasma jet hitting the bigger companion galaxy.


A team of Indian astronomers has found a unique supermassive black hole, ejecting out highly energetic, relativistic, magnetised plasma-jet (red & blue in the image) towards another galaxy (yellow). There are two major types of galaxies – spiral galaxy and elliptical galaxy. Stars are formed more in spiral galaxies (around one Sun-like star per year), whereas in elliptical galaxies the star formation process is very slow. Why is that so? This discovery could answer the question.

Scientists at RAD@home Citizen Science Research Collaboratory have found a galaxy, named RAD 12, having a supermassive black hole at the centre. Generally,a supermassive blackhole at the centre of a galaxy emits a magnetised plasma jet, which is ejected from both ends of the black hole, but the scientists of the Collaboratory have found something strange, i.e., the magnetised plasma has been ejected only at one end of the black hole, and it is headed towards another galaxy (can be seen in the image), consequently heating the galaxy.To characterise this exotic black hole galaxy system, researchers used data from the GMRT radio telescope as well as data from several other international radio and optical telescopes.The research was published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Letters).

“This is an opportunity for astronomers to study how supermassive blackholes destroy the star-forming future of an elliptical galaxy,” said Dr Ananda Hota, lead author of the paper and Principal Investigator of the Collaboratory. 



RAD@home citizen science discovery of an active galactic nucleus spewing a large unipolar radio bubble on to its merging companion galaxy. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 2022; 517 (1): L86

DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slac116

Contributed by Mr Shiva Maurya, Project Assistant, CSIR-NIScPR. Email: