Active Black Hole Squashes Star Formation

Nhsc_nhsc2012-007a_1024

nhsc_nhsc2012-007a May 9th, 2012

Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/R. Hurt (SSC)

The Herschel Space Observatory has shown that galaxies with the most powerful, active, supermassive black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less active black holes.

Supermassive black holes are believed to reside in the hearts of all large galaxies. When gas falls upon these monsters, the materials are accelerated and heated around the black hole, releasing great torrents of energy. In the process, active black holes oftentimes generate colossal jets that blast out twin streams of heated matter.

Inflows of gas into a galaxy also fuel the formation of new stars. In a new study of distant galaxies, Herschel helped show that star formation and black hole activity increase together, but only up to a point. Astronomers think that if an active black hole flares up too much, it starts spewing radiation that prevents raw material from coalescing into new stars.

This artistically modified image of the local galaxy Arp 220, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, helps illustrate the Herschel results. The bright core of the galaxy, paired with an overlaid artist's impression of jets emanating from it, indicate that the central black hole's activity is intensifying. As the active black hole continues to rev up, the rate of star formation will, in turn, be suppressed in the galaxy. Astronomers want to further study how star formation and black hole activity are intertwined.

Image Source: http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/index.php?SiteSection=ImageGallery&ViewImage=nhsc2012-007a

Curator: NASA Herschel Science Center, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

View Options

Image Details

Image Type
Artwork
Subject - Local Universe
Nebula » Type » Jet
Galaxy » Activity » AGN
Nhsc_nhsc2012-007a_1280
×
ID
nhsc2012-007a
Subject Category
C.4.1.5   C.5.3.2  
Subject Name
Credits
NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/R. Hurt (SSC)
Type
Artwork
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NASA Herschel Science Center
URL
http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
NASA Herschel Science Center
Publisher ID
nhsc
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/nhsc/nhsc2012-007a
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-25T01:10:26Z
Metadata Version
1.2
×

 

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×

There is no distance meta data in this image.