Universities Space Research Association | 2019 Dec 02
Universities Space Research Association (USRA) today announced that scientists on NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) found a strange black hole that is changing its galactic surroundings in a way that is usually associated with newborn stars.
- Artist’s concept of a jet from an active black hole that is perpendicular to the host galaxy (left) compared to a jet that is launching directly into the galaxy (right) illustrated over an image of a spiral galaxy from the Hubble Space Telescope. SOFIA found a strange black hole with jets that are irradiating the host galaxy, called HE 1353-1917. Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble and NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit
Astronomers study how stars form in very distant galaxies by searching for signatures of gas heated by the stars called ionized carbon. But SOFIA discovered that active black holes can also heat this gas. These results contradict the long-held understanding that the energy creating ionized carbon in distant galaxies is from star formation alone. This discovery forces scientists to re-evaluate the effect black holes have on galaxies and the stars inside them.
Black holes are inherently strange, with gravitational forces so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. As active black holes consume gas and dust, some of that material is instead launched outward as jets of high-energy particles and radiation. Usually these jets are perpendicular to the host galaxy, but NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, found one that is shooting directly into its galaxy.
That jet is heating up gas around the galaxy's center in a way that's characteristic of stars being born. This is prompting scientists to reevaluate their ideas about a key gas associated with baby stars, and about how black holes affect their host galaxies generally. ...
The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS): Discovery of a Global (C II)
158 μm Line Excess in AGN HE 1353-1917 ~ I. Smirnova-Pinchukova et al
- Astronomy & Astrophysics 626:L3 (Jun 2019) DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201935577
- arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:1905.10383 > 24 May 2019
Impacting the Edge-on Galaxy HE 1353-1917 ~ B. Husemann et al