Scientists have made a major discovery that explains how galaxies become cosmic graveyards.
A new study claims that galaxies are turned into cosmic graveyards because of the supermassive black holes at their center.
The research indicates that the supermassive black holes that lie at the center of most galaxies can drive incredibly intense interstellar winds, resulting in what scientists call “red geysers,” according to a University of Kentucky statement.
The research started with a puzzling scenario: galaxies were filled with star-forming gas, but stars weren’t forming for some reason. Now, scientists believe that the phenomenon of red geysers is to blame: supermassive black holes are gobbling up all that gas for themselves, not leaving any left for the formation of stars.
Scientists came to their conclusions by studying a near-dormant galaxy named “Akira.” Researchers found that interstellar wind results in red geysers at the nucleus of the Akira galaxy. They observed Akira’s gravity pulling in gas from a nearby galaxy, Tetsuo, into the supermassive black hole, resulting in intense interstellar winds in Akira, turning it into a red geyser galaxy and preventing new stars from forming.
“[University of Kentucky’s Renbin Yan] and his team at MaNGA are mapping the details of 10,000 nearby galaxies – the largest survey yet of its kind – with the goal to understand the galaxies’ life cycles,” the statement reads. “Unlike previous SDSS surveys, they are not only mapping the centers of galaxies where supermassive black holes live, but the outer edges of the galaxies as well, which allowed them to discover the red geyser galaxy. The winds powered by these supermassive black holes could come and go quickly. It is difficult to catch the moment they show up.”
“Since MaNGA studies so many galaxies, our snapshots can reveal even the quickest changes to galaxies,” Yan said. “And that’s how we found Akira.”