Supernovas just might be the maid service of the universe. It seems these explosions that mark the end of a star's life work hand-in-hand with supermassive black holes to sweep out gas and shut down galaxies' star-forming factories.
Supernovas just might be the maid service of the universe.
Jets erupting from a supermassive black hole, such as the one in Centaurus A (shown in this color composite image), might clear the way for supernovas to sweep out gas and stop star formation.
Photo credit: WFI/ESO (optical); A. Weill et al/APEX/MPIFR and ESO (submillimeter); R. Kraft et al/ CXC/CFA and NASA (X-ray).
It seems these explosions that mark the end of a star's life work hand-in-hand with supermassive black holes to sweep out gas and shut down galaxies' star-forming factories.
Recent research, led by Michigan State University astronomers, finds that the black holes located at the cores of galaxies launch fountains of charged particles, which can stir up gas throughout the galaxy and temporarily interrupt star formation.
But unless something intervenes, the gas will eventually cool and start forming stars again.
One mega-outburst from the black hole, though, could heat the gas surrounding the galaxy enough to let supernovas take over and mop up the mess. A celestial cleaning partnership might help astronomers understand why some massive galaxies stopped forming stars billions of years ago.
"Our previous research had shown that black-hole outbursts can limit star formation in massive galaxies, but they can't completely shut it off," said team leader Mark Voit, MSU professor of physics and astronomy in the College of Natural Science. "Something else needs to keep sweeping out the gas that dying stars continually dump into a galaxy, and supernova sweeping appears to work perfectly for that."
Other members of the research team are Megan Donahue, MSU professor of physics and astronomy; Brian O'Shea, MSU associate professor of physics and astronomy; Greg Bryan, Columbia University professor of astronomy; Ming Sun, University of Alabama in Huntsville assistant professor of physics; and Norbert Werner, Stanford University research associate.
This research was recently published in Science News and Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Tom Oswald | EurekAlert!
Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers
24.01.2017 | Institut national de la recherche scientifique - INRS
European XFEL prepares for user operation: Researchers can hand in first proposals for experiments
24.01.2017 | European XFEL GmbH
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine