Fastest-ever wind tracked in space: study

Astronomers using NASA technology have tracked the fastest winds yet recorded, the Christian Science Monitor reported

The Astrophysical Journal Letters study detailed winds of 20 million miles per hour coming from a Milky Way black hole recorded by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. While that's only three percent the speed of light, it's still ten times faster than any other wind recorded by way of a comparable black hole, said the Christian Science Monitor

The IGR J17091-3624 black hole is situated near the constellation Scorpius, which puts it about 28,000 light years away. 

Technology writer Dara Kerr described it as "pretty much a ho-hum black hole" given its average sun size and weight.

The weird thing was its wind speed had reached high levels triggered by black holes billions of times larger, Kerr explained on CNET

More from Global Post: A vacuum cleaner for space junk?

Study author Ashley King of the University of Michigan called it the equivalent of "a category five hurricane," while FOX news quoted co-author Jon Miller, also of University of Michigan, as saying researchers found the wind "a surprise," adding, "this black hole is performing well above its weight class."

This particular black hole also challenged fundamental scientific thinking in other ways. Black holes, which form when a huge star collapses, are believed to be so powerful they consume everything they come in contact with, even that which travels at the speed of light.

But the J17091-3624 phenomenon suggest that more material is being pushed away from the black hole than being taken in, scientists said.

Because black holes are invisible, scientists explore them by way of their effects on their surroundings. In the case of J17091-3624, researchers tracked the speed of material attracted by a star orbiting and the stellar-mass black hole.

The World Listener Survey 2024

We’d love to hear your thoughts on The World. Please take our 5-min. survey.