New Star formation hampered by Supermassive Black Holes
It’s a huge galaxy and it is full of mystery. Every other day we see some new, but mysterious news/update about the galaxy. Recently scientist discovered a group of galaxies with supermassive black hole winds. According to the scientists these winds are massively strong enough to suppress the formation of any stars in the future.
The mystery of why red and dead galaxies remain inactive despite having all the ingredients to form new stars has been pondered over by scientists for years. It was a mystery which could not be solved, until this latest discovery that puts things into perspective. Recently, a team of international researchers used optical imaging spectroscopy from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (SDSS-IV MaNGA) to catch a supermassive black hole in the act of heating gas within its host galaxy, leading to the prevention of star formation.
“Stars are created by the cooling and collapse of gas, but in these galaxies there are no new stars despite an abundance of gas. It’s like we have rain clouds hanging over a desert, but none of the rainwater is reaching the ground,” said Edmond Cheung, Project Researcher at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU).
Edmond Cheung and his team studied a particular galaxy nicknamed Akira which stands as a prototype of this newly discovered class called ‘Red Geysers’; Red referring to the colour of the galaxies that lack younger stars and geyser to explain the phenomena of the supermassive black hole winds that surpass the formation of new stars. These supermassive winds in Akira showed the formation of complex yet intriguing patterns of warm gas, implying the presence of an outflowing wind from the black hole at the center. Researchers believe that the supermassive black hole was fuled by the interaction with smaller galaxies, in this case nicknames Tetsuo. This outflowing wind with its high energy heated up the surrounding gas causing shocks and turbulence which intern prevented any future star formation.
The team continues to analyze the survey’s data and plans a number of follow-up studies to further reveal the role of red geysers on the evolution of galaxies