Active Galactic Nuclei 

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2022
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Active Galactic Nuclei 

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Space 

Context: A roughly dough-nut-shaped cloud of cosmic dust and gas covering a huge black hole at the center of a galaxy Messier 77, which is similar in size to the Milky Way, was recently observed.

  • The observation is providing scientists with new clarity about the universe’s most energetic objects.

Key takeaways 

  • Their recent observations lend support to predictions made three decades ago about “active galactic nuclei”.
    • It also provided strong support for the “unified model” of active galactic nuclei. 
    • This model holds that all active galactic nuclei are basically the same but that some have different properties.

Active galactic nuclei

  • These are places at the centres of many large galaxies that have tremendous luminosity which sometimes outshine all of a galaxy’s billions of stars combined and produce the universe’s most energetic outbursts.
  • The energy arises from gas violently falling into a supermassive black hole that is surrounded by a cloud of tiny particles of rock and soot along with mostly hydrogen gas.

Black holes

  • Black holes are extraordinarily dense objects possessing gravitational pulls so powerful even light cannot escape them. 
  • Supermassive black holes, which reside at the centre of many galaxies, including Milky Way, are the largest of them.

Messier 77

  • Messier 77, also called NGC 1068 or the Squid Galaxy, is located 47 million light years (9.5 trillion km) from the Earth in the constellation Cetus. 
  • Its supermassive black hole has a mass roughly 10 million times greater than our sun.

News Source: TH

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