Research

Hubble found a black hole that gives birth to stars

What do we know about black holes?First of all, they are regions of space-time that have an incredibly powerful gravitational field. Its power is so great that even light is attracted to a black hole. As a matter of fact, for this reason these space objects began to be called "black holes". However, what the Hubble telescope recorded in the small neighboring galaxy Henize 2-10 contradicts this view. Instead of absorbing everything that is around it, a black hole, on the contrary, “gives birth” to stars. What's more, emerging stars are associated with the black hole's umbilical cord, which is made up of gas and dust. Its length is 500 light years. True, science was aware of this ability of black holes before, however, it was possible to fix this phenomenon at a fairly close distance for the first time.

Scientists have discovered a black hole from which stars emerge

How a black hole creates stars

Hubble reveals supermassive black holeat the center of a nearby dwarf galaxy. It is located at a distance of about 30 million light years from us. This is relatively small by space standards. Therefore, the telescope obtained both image and spectroscopic evidence that the star-forming region is associated with a black hole. By the way, this is not the closest black hole to us. The distance to the nearest black hole is 1000 light years.

NASA scientists find star-forming region linked to black hole

Black hole spewing a powerful jetionized gas at a speed of more than one and a half million kilometers per hour. As mentioned above, it stretched for 500 light years. However, the "stellar nursery" did not originate at the end of the jet, but at a distance of 230 light-years from the black hole. Thanks to the gas clouds that the jet stumbled upon, ideal conditions arose here for the formation of stars. NASA scientists report this in the journal Nature.

“I was sure that in the galaxy Henize 2-10something special is happening. Now Hubble has clearly demonstrated the connection between the black hole and the nearby star-forming region,” says astrophysicist Amy Raines, one of the authors of the study.

As scientists explain, black holes formplasma jets erupting from them after sucking matter from nearby stars and gas clouds. They move at a speed close to the speed of light. When the gas clouds into which the plasma jet crashes are heated to a certain temperature, they become an ideal "nursery" for stars.

Black holes spewing plasma jets of gas at a speed close to the speed of light

According to scientists, several million years agothe jet crashed into a heated gas cloud and scattered. About the same as a powerful jet of water that hits a hard surface. Clusters of new stars appear perpendicular to the flow. Thus, it is possible to trace the trajectory of its propagation.

However, such jets do not always lead tothe emergence of stars. Sometimes they heat the gas clouds too much, causing them to lose their ability to cool down again. Under such conditions, stars cannot form. As a rule, such “overheating” of gas clouds occurs in large galaxies. Previously, it was even believed that plasma flows, on the contrary, prevent the formation of stars. For example, the black hole in the center of our galaxy does not produce any stars, and generally does something strange with them.

An image of the Henize 2-10 galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

Therefore, the emergence of stars from a gas jetcame as a big surprise to scientists. But why doesn't it overheat gas clouds? As the scientists explain, in the black hole that was discovered in Henize 2-10, the jet streams were “softer” and less intense, which created ideal conditions for star formation.

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The era of black holes is open

The black hole in question causesscientists are interested not only in their ability to create new stars. Over time, it has remained relatively small. Scientists believe that a detailed study of it will help to understand how larger supermassive black holes arise in the universe. Scientists hope to discover what processes caused them to grow to gigantic proportions.

In addition, the methods developed by the teamto detect the faint signature of a black hole, will help to detect, in their opinion, other similar black holes. Dwarf galaxies may contain some information about how a black hole arose and evolved. Thus, perhaps in the near future we will learn even more information about these mysterious space objects, which, at times, are really surprising.