Galactic Burping Gas
Black hole caught â€œburpingâ€ galactic gas supply.
12:16 07 January 2016
Nasa has spotted two huge waves of gas being “burped” by the black hole at the heart of a nearby galaxy through its Chandra space telescope. The swathes of hot gas came from NGC 5195, a small sibling of the “Whirlpool Galaxy” that is 26 million light years away.
The scientists’ findings were presented at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Florida.
Marie Machacek, a co-author of the study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA), said: "We think that feedback keeps galaxies from becoming too large.”
"But at the same time, it can be responsible for how some stars form. This shows that black holes can create, not just destroy."
The team of researchers said that black holes are well known for consuming gas and stars. However, the two arcs of material glimpsed here are the equivalent of a burp after a big meal.
Eric Schlegel from the University of Texas at San Antonio, who led the study, explained that the crucial observation was the cooler hydrogen gas being propelled ahead of the hot, X-ray emitting waves.
He added: “This is the best example of snowplough material I’ve even seen.”