Just the thought of a black hole can make you shiver. The word “black hole” sounds like an abyss is about to swallow you up and destroy your soul. However, a new study found that they have another role, and not typically a bad one.
Astrophysicists came to this conclusion after witnessing a black hole 30 million lightyears away sprawning stars in a dwarf starburst galaxy known as Heinze 2-10.
The discovery was made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope which is the “eye to the future”. It’s an interesting fact that astronomers are used to looking millions of years into the past. Now scientists have used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to look thousands of years into the future.
This stunning observation sheds a new light on the use of black holes, further opening the question of what role black holes play.
In a new study published in the journal Nature, lead scientist Amy Reines noted the strange attributes of Henize’s black hole.
“From the beginning I knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10, and now Hubble has provided a very clear picture of the connection between the black hole and a neighboring star forming region located 230 light-years from the black hole,” Amy explained, reports the Independent.
Observation points out that almost every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center. For example, the Milky Way has a supermassive black hole in its Galactic Center, corresponding to the radio source Sagittarius A*.
These jets and outflows of gas called “winds” spread atoms throughout the galaxy, and can either boost or throttle the birth of new stars, according to center for astrophysics. That means supermassive black holes play an important role in the life of galaxies, even far beyond the black hole’s gravitational pull.
“At only 30 million light-years away, Henize 2-10 is close enough that Hubble was able to capture both images and spectroscopic evidence of a black hole outflow very clearly,” said Zachary Schutte, a lead author of the new study and grad student under Reines. “The additional surprise was that, rather than suppressing star formation, the outflow was triggering the birth of new stars.”
In a statement, Reines said:
“The era of the first black holes is not something that we have been able to see, so it really has become the big question: where did they come from? Dwarf galaxies may retain some memory of the black hole seeding scenario that has otherwise been lost to time and space.”
Image source: Wikimedia