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The cosmic web drives stars and supermassive black holes into place



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Astronomers now view our universe as a cosmic web consisting of massive filaments of galaxies separated by huge cavities. We do not know exactly how this cosmic web is. Most of our research has been done using computational models, in particular the model of cold dark matter for galaxy formation, which is currently favored by most cosmologists. The model shows that filaments in the cosmic network ̵

1; essentially long threads of gas – provide fuel for the intense formation of stars and supermassive black holes. On October 4, 2019, astronomers said they had now taken pictures of a particularly bright part of the cosmic web, including gas strands stretching over 3 million light-years. They say this is the first time that the cosmic web has been so detailed on such a large scale. And, behold, the observations agree with the theorized ones. In the region where these huge filaments meet, there is an "extraordinary number" of supermassive black holes and star-galaxies with very active star formation.

According to current theories of galaxy formation, such intense activity can only be triggered and sustained over time as large amounts of gas from the surrounding regions are channeled into the assembly cluster.

The group found that the filaments detected in the cosmic web contained a significant reservoir of gas. They assume that this gas promotes the further growth of the galaxies in this region.

These astronomers are from the RIKEN Cluster of Pioneering Research in Japan and the Durham University in the UK journal Science . An introduction to their work explains:

Most of the gas in the universe lies in the intergalactic medium [between the galaxies] where it forms into leaves and filaments of the cosmic web. At the intersection of these filaments form galaxy clusters, which are fed by gas, which is pulled along by gravity. Although this picture is well documented by cosmological simulations, it was difficult to demonstrate it observationally.

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  An ink blot image of long gas strands along with big nodes.

A huge cluster of galaxies from the C-EAGLE simulation runs from Durham University. This picture shows a region of our Universe comparable to the region where astronomers discovered gas filaments. In this color chart, created using sophisticated computer modeling, you can see the same emission of gas filaments as in observations. The convergence of these filaments forms a massive galaxy cluster. Recording about Joshua Borrow with C-EAGLE.

The new study was conducted with observations of the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) at the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory. Their statement explains:

The astronomers detected the gas filaments by the characteristic radiation that is produced when the neutral hydrogen gas contained in them is excited by ambient ultraviolet light and then returns to its lowest energy state.

The detected radiation was also intense, to only derive from the typical background level of ultraviolet light that permeates the universe, and the researchers' models instead suggest that it is from the light of many star-shaped galaxies and black holes in the region is driven.

Lead Hideki Umehata of the RIKEN Cluster of Pioneer Research and Tokyo University said:

The presence of such intense radiation suggests that gas falling under gravity along the filaments causes the formation of many star-sputtering galaxies and Galaxies trigger supermassive black holes that ultimately give the universe the structure we see today.

Earlier observations have shown a similar emission of gas blobs extending beyond galaxies, but now we could clearly show that these filaments extend over much greater distances and even go beyond the edge of the field we are looking at.

This gives credibility to the idea that these filaments actually stimulate the intense activity that we see in galaxies in large structures that are composed in the early Universe.

  3d network of yellow and blue threads against a purple background.

Astronomers believe that the early universe was nearly uniform, expanding from the Big Bang to the outside. A few billion years after the Big Bang, areas of slightly higher density had become galaxy clusters and groups, with sparsely populated regions without galaxies in between. The universe as a whole evolved into this honeycomb structure sometimes referred to as the "cosmic web." In the illustration of this artist Mpc / h is a distance unit with 1 Mpc / h more than 3.2 million light years. Picture about Volker Springel, Virgo Consortium.

Conclusion: Astronomers in the UK and Japan studied the cosmic web, a large-scale structure of massive filaments of galaxies separated by huge cavities. They found that the filaments also contained significant amounts of gas, which was thought to promote galaxy growth. The new observations allow scientists to directly map the cosmic web and to understand in detail its role in regulating the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies.

Source: Gas filaments of the cosmic network, which is in a proton cluster around active galaxies. [19659004] Via Durham University

  Deborah Byrd


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