Astronomers have finally captured a look at a black hole birthing new stars in the Henize 2-10 galaxy. The supermassive black hole in question is located roughly 34 million light-years away. Astronomers were able to take note of the black hole thanks to the Hubble telescope. The astronomers conducted a study based on their observations. The study was published in late January in the journal Nature.
Check out this black hole birthing new stars
Many people see black holes as a destructive force. While this has often been the case in the past, new evidence suggests black holes also play a role in the development of new stars. In fact, the black hole at the center of the Henize 2-10 galaxy is birthing new stars instead of eating them.
“Ten years ago, as a graduate student thinking I would spend my career on star formation, I looked at the data from Henize 2-10 and everything changed,” Amy Reines, the principal investigator on the new study wrote in a statement. “From the beginning I knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10.”
According to Reines, the newest capture of the galaxy provided by the Hubble telescope shows that the black hole birthing new stars is currently spewing out gas moving at around 1 million miles per hour. Because the black hole here is smaller, the outflow is moving slower than those found in larger galaxies. This, Reines and others say, is what led to the formation of new stars.
What this means for astronomers
One reason this study is important is because it will put more attention on smaller black holes. While not as large as some of their counterparts, these smaller supermassive black holes still have a very clear part to play. Reines says that black holes like the one in Henize 2-10 offer some promising possible clues. Dwarf galaxy black holes could give us an analog look at the way these space entities actually form.
Of course, there’s still a lot to break down and dig into when it comes to black holes. Seeing a black hole birthing new stars is both intriguing and inspiring.
“The era of the first black holes is not something that we have been able to see,” Reines said. “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.”