A team of scientists “saw” signals coming from a smaller black hole in the binary system OJ 287.
OJ 287 is known as Binary black hole systemwhose orbits are spiral due to energy loss due to gravitational radiation. This energy loss was confirmed in 2008. Since then, more measurements have been made to confirm the existence of this orbital solution. The most recent measurements were made in 2023.
Until now, signals from the binary black hole system have been linked either to the very massive main black hole or to the black hole surrounding it. Accumulation disk Gas.
However, an international team of researchers recently obtained new evidence related to the OJ 287 system. The researchers were able to observe signals coming directly from the smaller (second) black hole. Using this evidence, scientists say they are able to “see” a second black hole using measurements for the first time Polarized light Taken from Official Gazette 287.
I’ve been searching published In The Astrophysical Journal Letters on October 30, 2023.
Scientists have known for more than 50 years that the light emitted by OJ 287 is polarized. However, full use of this polarized signal requires constant monitoring of its fluctuation over time.
For the current study, scientists conducted the most comprehensive polarization observation to date, using seven telescopes located in the United States, Japan and elsewhere. These telescopes are equipped with specialized equipment to measure polarization accurately.
We have found a general rule that guides OJ 287: increasing total optical emission leads to increasing polarization and vice versa – said the professor. Alok C. Gupta, a recent PIFI Research Fellow at the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, first author of the study, and a professor at the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences in India.
But interestingly, there are cases where this rule fails. According to the models, the failure could be due to two interfering signals – one from the main black hole and one from the smaller black hole. This evidence of two separate signals is most evident in the polarization of light, which should be very different when contributed by two sources, not just one. When two signals occur, the general principle of polarization difference is violated.
Because the two black holes are close to each other in the sky, they appear as a single point of light. Using the polarization of light, we can be relatively sure that we are actually dealing with two sources – two black holes contributing to the total light signal – said Professor Gupta. Violations of the general rule occur at times when we would expect the second black hole to be active in the binary model. In general, the signal from the smaller black hole cannot be detected. Its activity is linked to its proximity to the gaseous disk that supplies the smaller black hole with material.
The absorption of matter by this smaller black hole results in bright signals ranging from radio rays to gamma rays. These last signals have recently been used to verify the orbit model. Now, polarization data supports this interpretation. As a result, we are confident that OJ 287 is truly an extremely massive binary black hole system, and the signal from both components can be resolved despite their proximity to the sky. – said the professor. Gu Minfeng of the Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, co-author of the study.
Astronomers from Poland are also studying this system.
In the illustration: Artist’s impression of OJ 287 – a binary system of supermassive black holes. Source: AAS 2018
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