"Thanks to this unique dataset, we could show that the most energetic radiation is emitted in the central light-day
away from the supermassive black hole and, more importantly, that the energy decreases with distance to the black hole almost exactly in the way predicted by theory," said Alexander Eigenbrod, who completed the analysis of the data.
Seventy-two days later, his age was 15,413 days, which corresponds to the best light-day
distance to Capella.
Careful study of the light echoes shows that the dust clouds are dense but thin sheets of material, perhaps only a light-day
There's a huge ring of ingestable debris at a radius of about 24 light-days
, at which distance it would take about five years to fall into the black hole.
This gas streamer probably originates near the accretion disk, mere light-days
from the central black hole, and flows outward at 1,000 kilometers per second (2 million mph).
The team measured the diameter of the disc of hot matter, and plotted how hot it is at different distances from the centre, and found that the disc is between four and eleven light-days
across (approximately 100 to 300 billion kilometres).
Generated using nine radio telescopes arrayed across the Southern Hemisphere, the images reveal features just 15 light-days
across in the heart of the galaxy Centaurus A (galaxy shown at left).
"Our discovery is a giant leap in terms of observing frequency, thanks to the use of ALMA, and in terms of distance to the black hole where the magnetic field has been probed -- of the order of only a few light-days
from the event horizon.
Images of the inner jets at centimeter-wave radio frequencies (8.4 and 22.3 gigahertz) resolve details only about 15 light-days
across, or about 0.5 milliarc-second.
Radio-emitting features as small as 15 light-days
can be seen, making this the highest-resolution view of galactic jets ever made.
Twin jets emitting radio waves, each moving in the opposite direction, were found within 4 light-days
of the black hole just days after the observation of the flare.
"A quasar accretion disc has a typical size of a few light-days
, or around 100 billion kilometers across, but they lie billions of light-years away.