Recent research, however, shows that they can make stars just as well as they can eat them.
Astronomers came to this conclusion after watching a black hole 30 million light-years away make stars in a small galaxy called Henize 2-10.
Experts say that this discovery, which was made possible by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, is the first strong evidence that black holes cause stars to form in very small galaxies. This raises the question of what black holes are for.
Amy Reines, who wrote most of the new r
Black holes in larger galaxies are known to eat up dust and the remains of stars that get too close to them. They also burn up gas clouds with their strong gravitational pull, creating the amazing sights we’ve all seen from black holes that are bigger and stronger.
But black holes in dwarf galaxies are much less bright and quiet. Instead of tearing up nearby galactic matter, it might squeeze gas and help stars form.
“Henize 2-10 is only 30 million light-years away, which is close enough for Hubble to get clear images and spectroscopic evidence of a black hole outflow,” said Zachary Schutte, the lead author of the new study and a graduate student working with Reines. “Another surprise was that the outflow wasn’t stopping stars from being made; instead, it was causing them to be made.”
The new research may help us understand how supermassive black holes are made and how other black holes looked when they were younger and just starting out.
In a statement, Reines said:
“We haven’t been able to see the time when the first black holes formed, so the big question is: where did they come from? Dwarf galaxies may have some memory of the black hole seeding scenario, which has otherwise been lost to time and space.
Reference(s): Peer-Reviewed Research, Independent