Thursday, March 19, 2020

Inbox Astronomy: Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across Galaxies


Quasar Tsunamis Rip Across Galaxies

Release date: Mar 19, 2020 1:00 PM (EDT)

The weather forecast for galaxies hosting monster, active black holes is blustery. Engorged by infalling material, a supermassive black hole heats so much gas that it can shine 1,000 times brighter than its host galaxy. But that's not all.

Hubble astronomers found that the region around the black hole emits so much radiation that it pushes out material at a few percent the speed of light (a speed fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in a few minutes). This material slams into a host galaxy's lanes of gas and dust, preventing the formation of new stars. The torrential winds are snowplowing the equivalent of hundreds of solar masses of material each year. And, the forecast is that this stormy weather will continue for at least ten million years.

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach.

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