Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Messy Eaters of the Cosmos

Black holes seem to be pretty messy eaters. Roughly 10% of the potential energy of mass consumed seems to get radiated by the accretion disc and polar jets. Bright quasars radiate up to 10 trillion times Solar luminosity - perhaps 1000 times the brightness of a galaxy. That requires a yearly consumption of a couple of Solar masses of gas and or stars.
You wouldn't want to be in the immediate neighborhood. Of course most quasars were creatures of the early universe. Lately they have become as scarce as Ents.