Tags: markarian 1018 | starving | black hole | dim

Markarian 1018: Starving Black Hole at Galaxy's Center Growing Dim

Image: Markarian 1018: Starving Black Hole at Galaxy's Center Growing Dim

The black hole at the center of active galaxy Markarian 1018 is starving, scientists say. (ESO/CARS Survey)

By    |   Friday, 02 Dec 2016 05:13 PM

Scientists have discovered the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Markarian 1018 is dimming because it is starving, that is, not getting enough fuel to keep it shining brightly.

Using information from various telescopes and the process of elimination, scientists have been able to rule out other reasons why the black hole would have dimmed and determine that lack of fuel is the cause, according to Space.com.

Markarian 1018 is considered an active galaxy because of its bright core, which is bright enough to obscure the light from surrounding stars. The brightness occurs because when material falls into the black hole, it is accelerated and radiates light. But when less material begins to fall into the black hole, the light becomes dimmer.

Unlike most other active galaxies researchers have observed, Markarian 1018 has changed from faint to bright and back in a short period of time, as far as astronomy goes. It went from faint to bright in the 1980s, then from bright in 2010 to faint in 2016, according to data from NASA, Space.com reported.

Data from the Chandra and Hubble telescopes ruled out a cloud of gas as the reason for the dimness, leaving starvation as the only possible explanation, according to Phys.org.

The findings were published in two papers, one by Bernd Husemann of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the other by Rebecca McElroy of the University of Sydney.

Although scientists aren’t sure what is causing the starvation, some at NASA believe there might be a second black hole in Markarian 1018 that is preventing material from getting into the first black hole. They say this because Markarian 1018 is actually two galaxies that collided, and both could have had black holes at the center, according to Space.com.

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Scientists have discovered the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Markarian 1018 is dimming because it is starving, that is, not getting enough fuel to keep it shining brightly.
markarian 1018, starving, black hole, dim
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2016-13-02
Friday, 02 Dec 2016 05:13 PM
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