Black hole packed an apparently impossible amount of matter into an nearly infinitely small space. The team says that the type of disc they are seeing is a scaled-down quasar noting that its the same type of disk they would see in objects that are 1,000 or even 100,000 times more luminous.
Study researchers said that these observations failed predictions of current models for gas dynamics in very faint active galaxies. However, the presence of this disk there has given us a unique opportunity to test the theory of relativity of Albert Einstein.
"Supermassive black hole binaries produce the loudest gravitational waves in the universe", co-discoverer Chiara Mingarelli, an associate research scientist at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City said in a statement.
This is because the disc of material is deeply embedded in the black hole's intensely powerful gravitational field, to the extent that light emanating from it is distorted.
"We've never seen the effects of both general and special relativity in visible light with this much clarity". General relativity describes gravity as the curvature of space and special relativity describes the relationship between time and space.
This new discovery proves just how unusual and freakish black holes are, scientists are now currently attempting to see if this is just a singular anomaly or a universe level trend that could add to our understanding of black holes.
Ordinarily most black holes have matter circling along their borders as they pull matter in with gravitational force. Enlisting the help of gravitational wave physicists, the monster black holes 2.5 billion light-years away help to refine the approximations of how common supermassive black hole pairs like this actually are.
The disk's material was measured by Hubble to be whirling around the black hole at more than 10% of the speed of light.
The black hole has a mass 250 million times that of our sun.
In order to study the matter swirling deep inside this disc, the researchers used the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) instrument. Detecting the gravitational wave background will help resolve some of the biggest unknowns in astronomy, such as how often galaxies merge and whether supermassive black hole pairs merge at all or become stuck in a near-endless waltz around each other. As the gas gets closer to Earth, it turns brighter and dimmer as it moves away - a phenomenon called relativistic beaming. "The luminosities of the stars in the galaxy outshine anything in the nucleus".
The Hubble Space Telescope, which is operated by NASA and the ESA, is fantastic for spotting objects residing in the distant reaches of space.
The team's paper will appear online today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope.