December 2, 2021

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Supermassive black holes could host giant, swirling gas ‘tsunamis’

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This artist’s visualization shows a supermassive black hole surrounded by dust and gas forming tsunamis on its outer edges.  (Image credit: Illustration by Nima Abkenar)

Could gas escaping the gravitational grasp of supermassive black holes be forming “tsunamis” in space? 

In a new, NASA-funded study, astrophysicists used computer simulations to model the environment around supermassive black holes in deep space. They found that there could be massive, tsunami-like structures forming near these black holes that are essentially massive, swirling walls of gas that have narrowly escaped the intense gravitational pull of the black hole. They even think that supermassive black holes could host the largest tsunami-like structures in the universe. 

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