NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a black hole aiding star formation!

cosmos science Technology

Astronomers have discovered a black hole at the heart of a nearby dwarf galaxy “giving birth” to stars, with the stellar newborns connected to the black hole by a vast “umbilical cord” of gas and dust. A new study from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals that a black hole in the center of the dwarf galaxy, Henize 2-10 appears to be assisting in the birth of a young star. This black hole is said to have deviated from its normal behavior of ripping stars apart and devouring anything that gets too close. The dwarf galaxy is around 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation Pyxis.

The finding was made with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and it’s the first time a black hole in a dwarf galaxy (one with fewer than a billion stars) has been witnessed spawning stars. Research published in the journal Nature on Jan. 19 detailed the extraordinary discovery.

The slender tendril of the jet reaching out from the black hole and across space to a bright star nursery was detected by astronomers. Supermassive black holes, which are millions to billions of times larger than stellar-mass black holes, have been observed emitting cosmic plumes in the past. Still, astronomers previously believed that these jets hampered rather than aided star formation in dwarf galaxies.

“Because Henize 2-10 is only 30 million light-years distant, Hubble was able to capture both photos and spectroscopic evidence of a black hole outflow extremely clearly,” said lead author Zachary Schutte, a graduate student at Montana State University. “What was even more surprising was that the outflow, rather than preventing star formation, was actually promoting the birth of new stars.”

The jets that shoot from black holes are created by pulling material from neighboring gas clouds or stars and slingshotting it back into space as scorching plasma moving near the speed of light. If heated to the correct temperature, the gas clouds that collide with the jet will form great nurseries for future stars.

The researchers anticipate that examining this black hole in greater detail may help scientists understand the modest origins of larger supermassive black holes in the cosmos, as well as the processes that caused them to balloon to such vast scales. Furthermore, the team’s high-resolution method for detecting the black hole’s faint trace can now be utilized to discover others like it.