How Do Black Holes Control Star Birth?

Yesterday, NASA released news that will help us understand the formation of oval galaxies. Specifically, the new data answers some old questions about why oval galaxies take so long to form. It turns out that the way black holes control the proto-matter of a baby galaxy actually regulate star birth as the galaxy takes shape around it.

The Observation of Black Holes

The details of this scientific study can be found in two journals released in June: The Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Despite the fact that the findings have been available for a little over a month, news has only recently been broached on the subject. The results were discovered using the Hubble Space Telescope.

What Hubble’s recent findings tell us is that when a black hole is allowed to play a key role in star birth, the new system becomes autonomous very rapidly. This means that each factor involved in the generation of stars has the potential to skew or perfect the creation process.

Scientists have also observed that high energy jets, called Gamma-Ray Bursts, are shot out from the black hole into the surrounding gas, heating the surrounding proto-matter enough to preclude its falling back to the black hole. To better understand what is going on, scientists use the analogy of a brewing thunderstorm; the gases that stay in the sky are the heated gases which never return to the black hole’s system. The falling rain, however, represents the portions of the system which are recollected into a galaxy.

However, the thunderstorm has limited mobility or freedom to reshape itself because of the black hole’s presence, as mentioned previously. This is ultimately how the black hole controls star birth. For a very long time, no one was sure why oval galaxies grew so slowly despite an overwhelming abundance of gas.

But how exactly is it slowed? As mentioned previously, when the gas is heated by the jets ejected by the black hole, the overall kinetic energy is too high for gravity (which is actually the weakest of the cosmic forces) to pull the proto-matter back into the galaxy.

In other, analogous words, this injection of kinetic energy prevents a majority of the ‘raindrops’ from falling onto the ‘ground.’ So while it is only sprinkling on the ground, the clouds are filled with rain particles that are just too energetic to let go and fall.

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