A team of scientists from different countries, including Germany, the United States and France, for the first time studied in detail the middle of the 3C273 quasar located outside a galaxy of the Milky Way, having managed to measure the mass of its black hole with unprecedented precision, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
To investigate the quasar, the specialists used the Gravity "virtual" telescope at the Paranatal Observatory in Chile. The instrument combines four telescopes, resulting in one equivalent of 130 meters in diameter, which enables detection and observation of astronomical objects with extremely high accuracy and resolution.
"Our observations reveal that gas clouds really revolve around the central black holeexplains Eckhard Sturm, chief author of the study, of the Max Planck Institute for External Physics in Germany.
Also, the researchers have published a black hole art video representing how the clouds of gas spin around it while absorbing all the matter around it in the center of the galaxy, giving rise to a phenomenon known as a quasar .
"Information about the movement and size of the region immediately around the black hole is crucial for measuring its mass," says co-author Jason Dexter. Scientists experimentally tested this method for the first time by establishing it the mass of this black hole exceeds the solar mass by 300 million times. In this sense, astrophysicists hope that the GRIVITIES will serve in the future as a special instrument for measuring the mass of other quasars.
"This is the first time we can spatially solve and study the immediate environments of a supermassive black hole outside the matrix galaxy, the Milky Way," said Reinhard Genzel, who heads the study group.
Scientists say that studying black holes and calculating their masses is a fundamental step in understanding how galaxies are developing.