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¿En dónde acaba la energía lanzada por un agujero negro?

diciembre 16, 2020

Un investigador de la Universidad de Maryland parece haber despejado una cuestión que por años ha dividido a los científicos que estudian el comportamiento de los agujeros negros: ¿en dónde acaba la energía de los chorros de plasma lanzados cuando absorben materia?

Adam Leah Harvey, candidato a doctor en física, tiene una hipótesis que ya fue publicada por la prestigiosa revista Nature Communications y que presagia, “generará reacciones divertidas”.

Hasta ahora, sabemos que estos chorros de plasma vacían su energía convirtiendo la luz visible e infrarroja en rayos gamma de altísima energía, y que, según los científicos, terminan en dos regiones circundantes al agujero negro: una cercana, ubicada a unos 0.3 años luz, u otra lejana, a unos 3 años luz de distancia.

Sin más herramientas que la estadística para sostener su hipótesis, Harvey señala que la energía acaba disipada en la región lejana.

Según detalla, su conclusión se basa en la aplicación de un modelo estadístico propuesto en 1979 y que se conoce como bootstrapping. Harvey aplicó este método a los datos de observación de 62 chorros de plasma lanzados por agujeros negros.

Con este método calculó el “factor semilla”, un valor que indica de dónde provienen las ondas de luz que el plasma convierte en rayos gamma y que fue propuesto por Markos Georganopoulos, uno de sus mentores y coautor de la investigación. Si la conversión de energía ocurre en alguna de las dos regiones, se obtiene un valor distinto.

“Muchas de las investigaciones que anteceden a esta se basan en supuestos muy específicos, mientras que nuestro método es bastante general”, explica Harvey. “No hay mucho que pueda socavar el análisis, son métodos bien entendidos aplicados a datos. Las observaciones deben ser correctas”, sostiene.

Los resultados de Harvey tienen validez estadística. Tras calcular el valor semilla de las 62 observaciones, obtuvo una distribución normal que se alineó casi perfectamente alrededor del valor esperado para la región lejana, la ubicada a 3 años luz del centro del agujero negro.

“Las implicaciones de nuestras observaciones serán de extrema importancia para entender el comportamiento de los chorros de plasma lanzados por agujeros negros”, remata.

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