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Home / Science / The fusion of black holes and star winds slows star formation in the butterfly galaxy

The fusion of black holes and star winds slows star formation in the butterfly galaxy



The butterfly-shaped galaxy NGC 6240 sees intense star formation with the fusion of the two supermassive black holes in its center. Researchers discovered what limits their ability to form new stars. ( NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA) -ESA / Hubble Collaboration and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville / NRAO / Stony Brook University) )

The galaxy NGC 6240 has a unique property, a massive cloud of gas in the shape of a butterfly. Unlike the relatively clean slice of the Milky Way, jets and gas bubbles shoot off NGC 6240, giving the galaxy the appearance of a butterfly in flight.

Galaxy with two supermassive black holes in the center

Most known galaxies tend to have only one supermassive black hole in the middle, but the galaxy NGC 6240 differs in that it contains two. Scientists believe that these galaxies arise from the fusion of twin galaxies.

The two black holes also circle in a final stage of a merger. The fusion process has triggered a dramatic star formation and numerous supernova explosions. Scientists believe that the merger will be completed within tens to hundreds of millions of years.

Francisco Müller-Sánchez of the University of Colorado Boulder and his colleagues have looked more closely at NGC 6240 and figured out what's causing star formation in the US Galaxy is slowing down.

Slowing of star formation in NGC 6240

In their new study, published in the journal Nature on April 1

8, Mueller-Sánchez and colleagues suggested that gases are created through the two spiral black holes. along with the gases emitted by the stars in the galaxy, the ability of NGC 6240 to produce new stars could have been slowed down.

The researchers found that two different forces formed the fog. The northwestern corner of the butterfly are the products or stellar winds, the gases that emit stars. The northeastern corner is dominated by a single cone of gas expelled from the two black holes while devouring vast amounts of galactic gas and dust during their fusion.

"Here we report observations of double effluents in the central region of the prototype fusion NGC 6240. We find a black hole-driven runoff from [O III] to the northeast and a starburst-driven runoff from Hα to northwest," the researchers wrote Researchers in their study.

Together, the two winds massively blow up amounts of gases from the galaxy, each of which equals approximately one hundred times the mass of the sun each year, which affects the galaxy. The removal of gases needed to form new stars slows down the formation of new stars.

"It is now forming intense stars, so it needs the extra strong impact of two winds to slow down star formation and become a less active galaxy," said researcher Julie Comerford, of CU Boulder.

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