Many nearby galaxies eject giant streams of gas and dust from their center at a wide angle, sufficient to form over a thousand stars the size of our Sun every year.
Astronomers have long been looking for the driving force behind these powerful ejections of molecular substance, and today a team of scientists, led by the staff of the University of Maryland, USA, reports a solution to this problem.
The new study provides the first in the history of astronomy the observation of the hypothesis that a supermassive black hole lying in the center of a large galaxy can cause the outflow of molecular matter from the core of this galaxy.
The galaxy studied in the new study is called IRAS F11119 + 3257 and has a central supermassive black hole actively absorbing matter. Such black holes are commonly called active galactic nuclei. The study showed that intense radiation fluxes that occur when matter falls on such a black hole, generate powerful cosmic winds that can carry large flows of molecules from the center to the periphery of the galaxy.
Although theorists have long suspected the existence of a connection between the winds created by the active galactic nuclei and the flows of molecular matter, in the present study, this connection was confirmed for the first time by observations.
In their work, the researchers used scientific data collected in 2013 using the X-ray space observatory Suzaku, operated jointly by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and NASA, as well as the Herschel space telescope of the European Space Agency.