Black holes are effective feeders
Non-growing supermassive black holes are extremely efficient at converting mass to energy, researchers report after studies with the Chandra X-ray telescope. With a degree of conversion of almost 2.5 percent of matter sucked up and then applied into energy, the distant gravitational monsters even take an unexpected second place in the matter-to-energy conversion ranking of universal objects - behind the twice as efficient quasars, the fast growing black hole variant. This is reported by researchers led by Christopher Reynolds from the University of Maryland.
The scientists had turned their gaze to black holes 50 to 400 million light-years away, whose nature they had found "a bit too good" in the optical wavelength range - i.e. too faint in view of the abundant supply of mass particles surrounding them in gravity- Range. In fact, the images from Chandra now revealed that the supposedly dark objects in the X-ray range radiate very brightly, meaning that a lot of energy is produced from mass here.
The falling matter, according to the interpretation of the analyses, is partly accelerated there to 90 percent of the speed of light and catapulted out of the black hole's sphere of influence in jets. The researchers recognized how fast the high-energy particles are going by the expansion of bubbles, which inflate the jets in the surrounding gas clouds.
Matter clouds, which are whirled around by jets and heated up in the process, should not be allowed to agglomerate into stars in the foreseeable future, the researchers explain further. This is the hitherto unknown explanation for why no suns form in the galactic environment of the holes. In principle, this limits the expansion of galaxies, the scientists conclude.