According to CCTV News, a team of researchers led by the National Observatory has made a new breakthrough in the study of black holes, discovering the “heartbeat” of the longest-lasting supermassive black hole to date. This particular black hole, named REJ1034 plus 396, is a supermassive black hole 600 million light-years from Earth with a mass of 2 million solar masses. By observing them in two phases, in 2007 and 2008, the researchers found the quasi-periodic oscillation signal of the black hole’s X-ray radiation, the black hole’s “heartbeat.”
Ten years apart, the signal is still there, and it is stronger at this stage than it was 10 years ago, the longest duration of the heartbeat signal of a supermassive black hole currently observed.
It is known that there are a large number of black holes in the universe with the mass of millions to hundreds of millions of suns, and the matter floating in interstellar space will be captured by the gravitational pull of the black hole. As it gradually falls into the black hole, a disk-like structure is formed and a large amount of energy is released in a very small space around the black hole, resulting in strong high-energy radiation, such as X-rays.
The cycle of this signal carries critical information about the scale and structure of matter near the black hole’s horizon. Experts say the study is the first evidence that such periodic signals from supermassive black holes can remain stable for a long time, without further ingesting on the physical mechanisms of black holes.
The team is currently conducting in-depth analysis of data from multiple satellites in the hope of gaining a deeper understanding of the nature of the heartbeat signal.