Monster black hole emits ferocious ‘double burp’ after feasting on stars and planets
A monster black hole has been seen belching a huge ‘double burp’ after wolfing down stars, gas and planets sucked from a nearby galaxy.
Now, after its huge meal, the galactic gobbler will slip into a deep sleep before awakening again one day and once again swallowing up anything unlucky enough to be near it.
The gluttonous cosmic monster sits at the centre of a galaxy called SDSS J1354+1327 and is believed to be munching stars from a galaxy neighbouring its own.
‘Black holes are voracious eaters, but it also turns out they don’t have very good table manners,” Julie Comerford, an astronomer at the University of Colorado Boulder, said at a news conference, according to Space.com
It is quite common to see a black hole doing one burp, but extremely unusual to see it let rip twice in a row.
Black holes follow a predictable cycle of feasting, burping and then napping.
Observing these burps could show how when a hungry hole will awaken and begin wolfing down anything unlucky enough to be within sucking distance of its gravitational pull.
The supermassive black hole at the centre of our own universe will one day arouse from its slumber with a raging appetite.
So how big will its breakfast be and will it chow down on Planet Earth?
‘Right now, our galaxy’s supermassive black hole is firmly in the nap phase of the feast-burp-nap cycle, but it’s just waiting for its next meal to come along,” Comerford added.
‘If our Milky Way’s black hole became active again, we are far enough away from it that we would be fine.
‘If our solar system was very close to the black hole, though, we’d be fried.’