A view of the central region of dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI); Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI).

Scientists Find Black Hole That Creates Stars Instead of Devouring Them

A Black Hole located at the center of a dwarf galaxy 30 million light-years away has been found to help create stars instead of devouring them.

Although we do not know much about black holes, we understand that these mysterious objects are cosmic monsters with the ability to devour anything that gets near them. From planets to stars and perhaps even larger cosmic objects, Black Holes are said to not let anything escape their reach.

Recently, a study from Italy revealed that there are as many as 40 billion Black Holes in the observable universe.

Now, researchers have made another surprising discovery relating to Black Holes; they have found a particular black Hole that, instead of devouring nearby stars, actually helps create them.

The Hubble Space Telescope has observed a black hole at the heart of the Henize 2-10 dwarf galaxy that creates stars instead of gobbling them up.

According to researchers, the black hole contributes to the firestorm of new star formation taking place in the galaxy.

Henize 2-10 is 30 million light-years away in the southern constellation Pyxis.

A decade ago, this small galaxy sparked a debate among astronomers about whether dwarf galaxies harbor black holes proportional to the supermassive giants found at the hearts of larger galaxies.

Thanks to Hubble’s observations, the discovery has tiny Henize 2-10 in the pilot seat at solving a crucial cosmic mystery.

This dwarf galaxy contains only a tenth of the number of stars found in our Milky Way Galaxy. Therefore, it is poised to play a significant role in solving the enigma of where supermassive black holes come from in the first place, reports a recent article by NASA.

“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,” revealed Amy Reines, who published the first evidence for a black hole in the galaxy in 2011 and is the principal investigator on the new Hubble observations, published in the January 19 issue of Nature.

Reines had a hunch that there was something odd going on in Heinze 2-10, and the recent Hubble Observations seemed to have validated it.

“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,” Reines added.

But what exactly is this connection that Reins speaks of?

To put it in simple terms, that link is an outflow of gas that extends across outer space like a cosmic umbilical cord connected to a region in space that births stars.

Data obtained by Hubble concerning the velocity of the outflow from the Black hole, and the age of the birthed stars indicate a relationship between the two.

What scientists observed taking place at Heinze 2-10 is also the opposite of what we see in much larger galaxies, where the material that is being sucked towards black holes is catapulted away by surrounding magnetic fields.

These rejections eventually create jets of plasma that move nearly at the speed of light.

The gas clouds caught in the plasma jets’ path are heated to extreme temperatures beyond the ability to cool down and form stars in more giant galaxies.

However, the story changes with less massive galaxies and black holes like that found in Heinze 2-10. This black hole has a much “softer” gas outflow where the material is compressed just right enough to allow the formation of new stars and at much lower temperatures.


Further reading material: NASA.


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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