February 4, 2023

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NASA scientists make black hole jets with a supercomputer

NASA scientists make black hole jets with a supercomputer

These images show the diversity of black hole jets. Left: NGC 1068, one of the nearest and brightest (green and red) galaxies with a rapidly growing supermassive black hole, is powering a jet (blue) much smaller than the galaxy itself. Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/C.Canizares, D.Evans et al. (X ray) ; NASA/STScI (Optical); and NSF/NRAO/VLA (Radio). Right: Centaurus A reveals jets of particles extending up and down the galactic disk. Credit: ESO/WFI (Optical); MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A. Weiss et al. (millimeter); and NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Kraft et al. (X-ray).

Leveraging the NASA Center for Climate Simulations (NCCS), scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center ran 100 simulations to detect jets — narrow bands of energetic particles — that emerge at nearly the speed of light from supermassive black holes. Located at the centers of active star-forming galaxies like our own Milky Way, these giant planets can weigh millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun.

Jets and winds also flow from these active galactic nuclei (AGN), they “regulate the gas in the galactic center and influence things like the rate of star formation and how the gas mixes with the surrounding galactic environment,” explained study leader Ryan Tanner, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA X-rays. Astrophysics Lab.

“For our simulations, we focused on less-studied low-brightness jets, and how they determine the evolution of host galaxies.” Tanner said. He collaborated with X-ray laboratory astrophysicist Kimberly Weaver on the computational study, which appears in The Astronomical Journal.

New simulations performed at NASA’s Climate Simulation Center (NCCS), a supercomputer discovery, show how weaker, low-brightness jets produced by the galaxy’s monstrous black hole interact with its galactic environment. Because these jets are more difficult to detect, simulations help astronomers relate these interactions to features they can observe, such as various gas motions and X-ray and optical emissions. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Observational evidence for jets and outflows of other AGNs came first from radio telescopes and later the NASA and European Space Agency X-ray telescopes. Over the past 30 to 40 years, astronomers including Weaver have pieced together an explanation for their origin by connecting optical, radio, ultraviolet, and X-ray observations (see next image below).

“High-brightness jets are easier to find because they create massive structures that can be seen in radio observations,” Tanner explained. “Low-brightness jets are a challenge to study with observation, so the astronomy community doesn’t understand them either.”

NASA Goddard scientists created black hole aircraft with NCCS discovered supercomputers

Black hole jet simulations were performed on NCCS’s 127,232-nuclear Discover supercomputer. Credit: Concept Image Lab of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Enter the simulations powered by NASA’s supercomputers. For realistic starting conditions, Tanner Weaver used the total mass of a hypothetical galaxy the size of the Milky Way. For gas distribution and properties of other active galactic nuclei, they looked to spirals galaxies Such as NGC 1386, NGC 3079, and NGC 4945.

Tanner modified the Athena Hydro astrophysics Code to explore the effects of jets and gas on each other across 26,000 light-years of space, about half the radius of the Milky Way. From the full set of 100 simulations, the team selected 19 — which consumed 800,000 base hours on the NCCS Discover supercomputer — for deployment.

“Being able to use NASA’s supercomputing resources has allowed us to explore a much larger parameter space than if we had to use more modest resources,” Tanner said. “This revealed important relationships that we could not detect on a limited scale.”

This visualization shows the intricate structure of an active galactic plane (orange and purple) disrupted by interstellar molecular clouds (blue and green). With the jet turned about 30 degrees toward the galactic central plane, the more extensive interaction with the galaxy’s stars and clouds of gas caused the jet to split in two. Credit: Ryan Tanner and Kim Weaver, NASA Goddard.

The simulations revealed two main characteristics of the low-brightness planes:

  • They interact with their host galaxy much more than the high-brightness jets.
  • Both influence and are affected by the interstellar medium within the galaxy, resulting in a greater diversity of shapes than the luminaries. Planes.

“We have demonstrated the way the AGN influences and creates galaxies physical propertiessuch as shocks in interstellar medium, which we noticed about 30 years ago,” Weaver said. These results compare well with visual and X-ray observations. I was surprised at how well the theory fits with observations and addresses long-standing questions I had about living cell nuclei that I studied as a graduate student, such as NGC 1386! Now we can expand to larger samples. ”

more information:
Ryan Tanner et al., Simulating galactic flow morphology and content-driven galactic nuclei transport, The Astronomical Journal (2022). DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/ac4d23

the quote: NASA Scientists Created Black Hole Jets Using a Supercomputer (2022, November 29) Retrieved November 29, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-nasa-scientists-black-hole-jets.html

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