Représentation d'un trou noir avec son disque d'accrétion et un jet d'énergie. © Nasa, Caltech-JPL

The James-Webb reveals the composition of the gas around a supermassive black hole


Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies located in the constellation Pegasus, was among the first images chosen to illustrate the power of the James-Webb Space Telescope in comparison with that of its predecessor, Hubble. But the JWST not only makes it possible to take sumptuous images, it also performs spectroscopic analyzes revealing the chemical composition of stars and astrophysical environments. We see an example with one of the supermassive black holes associated with the galaxies of the Stephan Quintet.

The James-Webb is still only at the very beginning of its observations and it is already giving spectacular results. We even wonder if he is not providing us with elements to decide the dark matter theory of the Mond theory in cosmology.

While waiting to find out, let’s be patient while taking note of certain results already obtained, such as those concerning the famous Stephan Quinteta visual grouping of five galaxies located in the constellation Pegasus but of which only four are truly gravitationally associated, the fifth galaxy being simply in the foreground of the other four. This last gate NGC number 7320 among the New general catalog of nebulae and Groups stars or NGC — in French “New general catalog of nebulae and piles ofstars », which we owe initially to John Louis Emil Dreyer (1852 – 1926), a astronomer Irish-Danish

Specters talk about the environment of the black hole of NGC 7319

With the JWST, the astrophysicists focused on the case of NGC 7319 which houses an active galactic nucleus whoseenergy light equivalent to 40 billion suns comes from a supermassive black hole of 24 million solar masses — our Milky Way contains one, Srg A*just over 4 million solar masses.

For their curriculum, they relied on the spectrometer to medium resolution (MRS) which is part of the mid-infrared instrument (Miri) of the James-Webb. MRS contains an imager and a spectrographwhich made it possible to observe and take measurements concerning the gas closer to the central black hole of NGC 7319 than ever before. The instrument revealed that the black hole was shrouded in silicate dust whose composition is similar to the sable of beach but much smaller in size than grains of sand.

Of them spectra were shown in the image above.

The spectrum in the upper part shows a region filled with hot and ionized gases, notably containing ironof the’argonfrom neonfrom sulfur and of theoxygenas indicated by the peaks at wavelengths data. The presence of several lines ofemission of the same element, with different degrees ofionizationis valuable for understanding the properties and origins of plasma flows around the black hole.

The spectrum of the lower part reveals, meanwhile, that the supermassive black hole is associated with a cooler and denser reservoir of gas with large amounts ofhydrogen molecular and silicate dust which absorbs the light central regions of the galaxy.

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