Scientists Have Spotted a Quasar Accretion Disk

Scientists for the first time could see the quasar accretion disk – the active galactic nucleus with a super massive black hole at the center.

Scientists for the first time could see the quasar accretion disk – the active galactic nucleus with a super massive black hole at the center.

Though black holes themselves are invisible forces that they conceal the cause of  one of the most powerful of brightness phenomena in the universe – quasars. The force of their radiation in the tens and sometimes hundreds of times greater than the total capacity of all  the stars, such galaxies as our Milky Way. Quasars are black holes, surrounded by an accretion disk, matter is gradually falling into a black hole. This process is accompanied by large amounts of energy. As a result, the neighborhood of the hole becomes visible.

As part of its study, the researchers observed the quasar HE 1104-1805. The space telescope “Hubble” they managed to get pretty clear pictures of the object, including the accretion disk around it. Accretion disk is a matter that revolves around a black hole under the influence of gravity. As the authors of the study, the size of these drives by space standards, relatively small, and astronomers can not observe it directly through ordinary telescopes. Despite the fact that the diameter of the disc, may be a few light-years long distances makes them almost impossible to monitor.

However, in the case of HE 1104-1805 has helped astronomers micro lensing – an effect that occurs when the light path between the object and the observer is a massive object (in this case – the galaxy [WKK93] G). The gravitational field of the galaxy [WKK93] G distorts the path of light coming from the quasar HE 1104-1805, and acts as a lens. As a result of observing specialists were able to calculate the size of the disk (from 4 to 11 light days), as well as to determine the temperature in its different regions. According to the authors, these findings will help in studying the structure of these objects.

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