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Super black holes in massive galaxies control star formation

4 Jan 2018, 10:21 UTC
Super black holes in massive galaxies control star formation NASA/JPL-Caltech
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The energy pouring out of the black holes at the centre of massive galaxies are hindering star formation in surrounding regions. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Young galaxies are known for creating numerous stars at a rapid rate, which gives off copious amounts of energy. However, as the galaxy evolves, star formation eventually ceases. A team at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), United States, has now stated that the mass of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy determines how soon the star formation stops inside these galactic structures.
To each massive galaxy is a supermassive black hole residing at its core, and they tend to be over a million times more massive than our own Sun. The enormous mass of this object means that not even light can escape its gravity, hence the term ‘black hole’. Although we cannot see the object directly, we can observe the effects on its surroundings, such as the galaxy’s own stars and sometimes the powerful energy released by its active galactic nucleus (AGN). It is thought that the energy that is emitted from the AGN is what heats up the surrounding gas, making it unable to condense into stars, also ...

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