Starving Black Hole forces its host galaxy to change its classification

starving black hole


Astronomers used data from NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to observe a galaxy changing its classification twice within five years. The cause of this rare phenomenon is a starving Black Hole at the centre of the galaxy.

A handful of galaxies have been observed in the past to revert back to their initial classification. The active galaxy in this new study, named Markarian 1018, changed its type twice the last five years. The mechanism responsible for the variation was uncovered during the second round of observations. The central black hole was slowly fading as it was being starved of accretion material. According to the scientists that made the discovery the cause of the starvation could be a second supermassive black hole that disrupts the inflow of the fuel towards the central black hole.

Ongoing and future observations with ESO telescopes and other facilities will allow astronomers to uncover the fascinating world of black holes and their host galaxies.


Publications: McElroy et al. 2016, Husemann et al. 2016

Source: ESO