Black Hole's Gravity Is So Strong It Pulls Space Along With It

Scientists studying a black hole called V404 Cygni have made an interesting discovery. The team says that jets of fast-moving material shot from the area surrounding the black hole, which is nine-times more massive than the Sun, is wobbling so fast that its change in direction can be seen in periods as short as minutes.

Astronomers believe that the material is wobbling so fast because the rotating black hole's gravity is so powerful that it is dragging nearby space along with it causing distortions in the disk. Researcher James Miller-Jones of Curtin University says that scientists have never seen this effect happening on such short timescales.

V404 Cygni is nearly 8,000 light-years away from Earth, and it is drawing in material from a companion star with a mass of about 70% of the sun. As that material heads towards the back hole, it forms a rotating accretion disk around the black hole. The disk gets denser and hotter as the distance from the black hole decreases.

Scientists say that either the innermost portion of the disk or the black hole itself launches jets of material outward away from the disk. The jet of material streaming out of V404 Cygni is traveling as fast as 60% of the speed of light. The rapid wobble, known as precession, seen with this black hole hasn't been seen in other systems.

By pulling space with the black hole, the inner part of the disk is warped. That causes the jet to change its orientation and produces the wobble scientists have seen. The team normally uses data collected over several hours like a long time exposure of a photograph, but in this case, all they saw was a blur due to the rapid wobble. The team had to make 103 individual images that were each about 70 seconds long and combine them to make a movie.