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Astronomers spot 20 million mph wind hurling from black hole

Posted on Thursday, February 23 2012 @ 04:31:48 CET by

TG Daily reports scientists spotted a black hole that generates windows blowing at 20 million miles per hour, about three percent of the speed of light. The IGR J17091 black hole was discovered using the NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory, it's in a binary system in which a sun-like star orbits the black hole. The object is located in the bulge of our galaxy, about 28,000 light years from Earth, it surprised scientists because they didn't expect such a small black hole would be capable of producing such strong winds.
"This is like the cosmic equivalent of winds from a category five hurricane," says Ashley King from the University of Michigan. "We weren't expecting to see such powerful winds from a black hole like this."


The wind emanating from it is nearly 10 times faster than has ever been seen before from a stellar-mass black hole, and matches some of the fastest winds generated by supermassive black holes - which can be billions of times more massive.

"It's a surprise this small black hole is able to muster the wind speeds we typically only see in the giant black holes," says Jon M Miller, also from the University of Michigan. "In other words, this black hole is performing well above its weight class."



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