Supermassive black holes are like the spinning tops of a galaxy

Supermassive black holes are like the spinning tops of a galaxy

Two extreme pieces of news, from the infinitely large to the infinitely small: two international teams, both also composed of Italian scientists, have obtained the first experimental confirmations that supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies rotate, and that antihydrogen atoms (i.e. antihydrogen atoms) rotate around themselves. . Hydrogen made of antimatter) weighs the same as regular hydrogen, although some theories have postulated a slight difference.

News No. 1. A team of researchers led by a Chinese laboratory, in which the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and the University of Bologna also participate, discovered that the radio galaxy Messier 87 (M87), located 55 million light-years from Earth, represents an oscillating jet with an amplitude of about 10 degrees ( This phenomenon is known as precession.) This jet originates from a black hole 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun, and in an article just published in Nature, it was explained that an 11-year cycle has been detected in the advancing motion of the base of the jet. “This discovery is very important, because it proves that the supermassive black hole at the center of M87 is rotating around itself very quickly,” explains Marcello Girolitti, a researcher at INAF in Bologna and one of the authors of the article. “This possibility has been hypothesized, but we now have conclusive evidence of it.”

News No. 2 This has also been validated in the latest issue of the international scientific journal Nature. The Alpha experiment at CERN in Geneva, in which the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Infn) also participates, made the first direct observation of the effects of gravity on the motion of antihydrogen atoms, and verified, albeit within the limits of variation, that these effects are identical on matter and antimatter. While there are theoretical scenarios that predict a (very small) violation of the gravitational acceleration. The next few years will be devoted to improving experimental measurement.

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