Astronomers have discovered that the central hole of a galaxy located 1,500 million light years from Earth eject a powerful jet of material at nearly the speed of light, with such violence that large quantities of gas are reaching neighboring galaxies.
This process, according to the scientists in the journal Science, is limiting black hole growth and star formation rate in the galaxy, so that may be key to understanding how these develop and why some have more stars than other.
With the help of a worldwide network of radio telescopes, scientists studied a galaxy called 4C12.50, and chosen because it is in a stage in which the “engine” that produces black hole jets is going on. As the black hole, a concentration of mass so dense that not even light can escape, pulls material toward him, forms a rotating disk surrounding the black hole. The processes take advantage of the tremendous drive hole’s gravitational energy to propel the material outward from its poles.
At the ends of the two jets, the researchers found accumulations of hydrogen gas moving outward from the galaxy at 1,000 kilometers per second. One of the clouds has 16,000 times the Sun’s mass, while the other is 140,000 times more massive. The larger cloud, scientists, has a size of approximately 160 by 190 light-years. Something so terribly huge that it is impossible to imagine.
We believe we are seeing in action the process by which an active central engine can remove the gas, the raw material for star formation, a young galaxy, says Raffaella Morganti, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and the University of Groningen.
In July, another team of scientists who used the ALMA telescope in Chile, announced it had found gas coming out of a nearby galaxy, called NGC 253, for an intense burst of star formation. Astronomers believe the two possibilities, both the action of black holes as these violent galactic winds, slow or stop the growth process of star formation. That helps explain why there are so few massive galaxies.