Astronomers have detected a relativistic jet from a star being torn apart by a black hole

(ORDO NEWS) — Black holes periodically tear stars apart, but the parameters of this particular event from the early Universe have baffled scientists.

Two groups of researchers on the same event, which they began to study independently of each other. We are talking about observations of the object AT2022cmc, which released a large amount of energy in a short time.

Additional observations showed that we are talking about a jet from the vicinity of a black hole, but with unusual velocity and magnetic characteristics.

Stars often pass close enough to black holes for them to destroy them with their gravitational field (tidal destruction).

The destruction is accompanied by the entry of the star’s matter into the so-called accretion disk around the black hole – a ring from the matter of objects absorbed by the black hole, strongly heated by collisions with each other.

If there is really a lot of matter falling per unit time, the heating of the accretion disk can become enormous, the matter in them becomes a plasma, and some of it is ejected away from the black hole in the form of so-called jets – jets.

In some of the most powerful events of this kind, the velocity of matter in the jet can approach the speed of light, reaching hundreds of thousands of kilometers per second. Then such a jet is called “relativistic”.

Normally, there are two jets: one goes “down” from the black hole, and the other – up. The reason for their occurrence is the entrainment of part of the plasma of the accretion disk along the lines of the magnetic field that exists around the black hole.

In most cases, jets can be observed only if your planet (system) was accidentally “touched” by such an object. At present, there are not so many observations of relativistic jets, and there is no complete understanding of how they arise.

In the case of the object AT2022cmc, observations by telescopes operating in a variety of ranges have shown that the solar system is just in the path of one of the jets coming from this object.

He himself is extremely far from us: photons from him went to our planet for about eight billion years. The event itself took place 4.7 billion years after the Big Bang.

Given that the universe has been expanding all this time, astronomers now estimate the real distance to the black hole itself and the star it is tearing apart at least 12.4 billion light-years. According to calculations, the event was caused by a black hole breaking a star with a mass close to the sun.

It should be noted that the near-light velocities of plasma jets from the vicinity of black holes are recorded very rarely.

But in this case, the observations showed features that had not previously been seen at all: despite the extremely high velocities of the outflow of plasma jets, there are no signs of a really strong magnetic field in the region of the event.

Astronomers have detected a relativistic jet from a star being torn apart by a black hole 2
How astronomers capture traces of a black hole breaking a star

This contradicts the established theoretical views on the formation of relativistic jets. Until now, it was thought that high-energy jets require the black hole’s strong magnetic field, since it is this field that directs some of the plasma from the accretion disk up and down from the hole.

In the described case, there are high-energy jets, and the magnetic field does not seem to be strong enough to explain their formation.

Researchers recognize this discrepancy. Apparently, now theorists need to develop some other models for the formation of such emissions.


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