The University of Southampton

Astrophysicists examine unique outflowing wind close to black hole

Published: 7 August 2019
Illustration of the black hole system studied by the team (Credit John Paice)

An international research team led by the University of Southampton has identified several unusual properties of a hot wind’s violent outbursts around a black hole.

The astrophysicists, led by School of Physics and Astronomy Emeritus Professor Phil Charles, investigated the dense outflowing wind in Swift J1357.2-0933, an X-ray transient some 25,000 light years from earth.

The research observed ionised helium and hydrogen being emitted in bursts that repeated every eight minutes, the first time this behaviour has been seen around a black hole.

The international project, which included partners from Southampton, Oxford and South Africa, used data from the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere. Researchers have published the findings in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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