Supermassive Black Hole Glitched. Scientists Can’t Explain Why It Turned Itself Off And On Again

by Conscious Reminder

Most of us are quite fascinated with the Universe and it’s most mysterious ‘residents’ – the black holes. We are still learning a lot of new things about these celestial ‘bodies’.

There are many questions – can a black hole stop existing? What happens when something enters a black hole? But a recent observation urged our curiosity to ask, can a black hole glitch? Can they just stop existing and restart again, right away?

One particular supermassive black hole acted as a switch in an astonishing phenomenon that went on right in front of scientists’ eyes. Astronomers at MIT were observing a black hole that just flashed with a bright glow and then started dimming. It was as if someone had switched it off, and the power was draining.

All of a sudden, it turned back on. What took place was that the bright electron ring and high energy particles on the event horizon edge, called the corona, disappeared and then came back.

What are scientists saying?

The MIT assistant scientist, Erin Kara, released a statement to the press stating that these kinds of luminosity changes do happen, but on various timescales – thousands or millions of years apart.

However, for this black hole, the change was a factor of about 10,000 above a year and a factor of hundred within 8 hours, which is quite astonishing. Her team published a few findings where they stated the black hole does consume everything that comes within the event horizon.

You might wonder, why would it consume its own corona? It does not really work that way. Chaos in the black hole may have caused it.

As per the astronomers, the black hole may have tried to consume a big star with its immense gravitational pull. But the star was probably too big for the black hole.

The star may have gone rogue as it went through the accretion disc of the black hole, and got caught in its gravitational field.

Due to this disruption, the black hole may have consumed its own corona as well. While the lights did go out of the black hole, the scientists kept their eyes peeled to observe any changes.

They believe that this interaction between the debris and accretion flow may have caused this blackout.

Black hole blackout. Credit: NASA
Black hole blackout. Credit: NASA

Celestial bodies are always pulling at each other. When the star moved towards the black hole, it was a tidal disruption that took place.

Gravitational forces were also disrupted as a bigger black hole tore the star apart and violently pulled it towards itself.

This resulted in the accretion, which made the black hole dim. However, it was fast to recover its disc and corona by taking the materials from outside.

Astronomers have still kept a watchful eye on it to observe any erratic changes.

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