Astrophysicists from South Africa, Great Britain, France and the United States have found a black hole with a curved disk located at a distance of 9,600 light-years from Earth.
Back in 2018, scientists discovered a flare from the object MAXI J1820 + 070 – this is a binary system, where the companion is a star with a small mass similar to the Sun. There is also a black hole in the system: it is eight times heavier than our nearest star.
According to the authors of the new work, the flare from MAXI J1820 + 070 was one of the three brightest X-ray transients ever observed. This is influenced by its proximity to Earth and its convenient location outside the Milky Way’s avoidance zone.
The researchers imaged MAXI J1820 + 070 to understand how X-rays from the black hole affect the surrounding matter and the accretion disk, heating it to a temperature of about ten thousand Kelvin and causing it to emit visible light.
Further observations revealed that three months after the outburst, oscillations began in the optical light curve, which lasted about 17 hours. Despite this, the authors note, the X-ray component of the radiation was stable and did not change the optical curve in any way.
According to astrophysicists, this may be due to the fact that the x-ray radiation has seriously deformed the disk. At the same time, the area of the disc increased, which caused an increase in the brightness of the object.
Scientists have never seen such a phenomenon in a system where there is a black hole and a low-mass donor.