A billion light years – at this distance are the brightest galactic clusters of Abell 2597, consisting of about 50 individual galaxies.
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One of them, Abell 2597 The Galaxy Bright cluster, right in the middle and the source of a giant gas fountain, researchers at Grant Tremblay from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have now been established.
Inter Galactic Floods
Driven by a large black hole in the heart of Abell 2597 Bright Galaxy Clusters, cold molecular gas thrown into space, rain returns to black holes in the form of intergalactic floods, as the team wrote in the Astrophysical Journal.
"This is probably the first system in which we find clear evidence of cold molecular gas flow towards black holes along with ejection or jet ejection (narrowly focused material flow, editorial notes) that triggers black holes.», Tremblay said in a statement. This black hole at the center of a large galaxy looks like a "mechanical pump in a fountain".
US research uses European technology
This finding was obtained using what is called the Atacama Large Millimeter / Subillimeter Array (ALMA) and MUSE Spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
With ALMA, the researchers captured the position and movement of carbon monoxide (CO) molecules in the fog. This cold molecule with temperatures up to -260 degrees Celsius falls into the black hole. The MUSE spectrograph was used to study warm gas released in the form of jets near black holes.
Important for the future
Together, the two data sets provide a complete picture of the process: cold gas attacks a black hole, accelerates sharply around it, and is very hot by friction, before being discharged at high speed by the jet as the plasma shines into vacuum.
These jets shoot out of black holes like impressive galaxy fountains. Without hope of releasing the gravitational grip of the galaxy, the plasma cools and eventually drops back to the black hole where the cycle begins again.
That finding could explain the life cycle of galaxies. Scientists suspect that this process may not only expand, but it may also be important to understand galaxy formation.