Black holes, what we know about galactic tsunamis that can trigger

Thanks to new computer simulations, researchers have acquired some information about what can happen in the gas surrounding a black hole

The area surrounding huge black holes is a very extreme environment. New computer simulations, however, have allowed researchers to acquire some information about what can happen in the gas surrounding one of these cosmic giants: from the black hole would spread waves and vortices similar to a tsunami. The study was published in The Astrophysical Journal and shows that heated gas can become lumpy and create some peculiar effects in the accretion disk surrounding the black hole.

Black hole research creating galactic tsunamis

According to the research, in the region closest to the black hole, the incredible gravitational effect heats the falling material by millions of degrees. This plasma glows, emitting energetic X-rays that heat the surrounding gas and would raise waves in the disk to create a kind of galactic tsunami. "What governs the phenomena here on Earth are the laws of physics that can also explain things in space and far outside the black hole," said study co-author Daniel Proga, of the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to the researchers, the key to these effects lies in the gas-forming hot pocket at the periphery of supermassive black holes. These push the cooler gas forward, heating it and creating new structures that can extend up to 10 light-years. "These clouds are ten times hotter than the surface of the Sun and move at the speed of the solar wind," explained lead author Tim Waters, a postdoctoral researcher at UNLV and a visiting scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The simulation, however, contradicts some long-standing theories about how clouds form near active supermassive black holes. The clouds here are not fluffy and white, but are dense with interstellar material. Their formation seems to depend on powerful emission from the nearest region surrounding the black hole. To clump together, the gas would have to be quite cold, instead what propagates from the black hole is hot and fast. According to the researchers, as it moves away it raises colder gas creating these clouds, which can move up to 10,000 kilometers per second (20 million miles per hour) going to create
an effect similar to huge waves that break against the coast, ie a kind of tsunami.

Recently, scientists have also discovered that a storm of black holes has disrupted the galaxy.