Astronomers on a supercomputer simulated jets flying out of the centers of galaxies

(ORDO NEWS) — On the NASA Climate Simulation Center (NCCS) supercomputer, astronomers at the Goddard Space Flight Center ran 100 jet simulations.

Scientists have studied narrow beams of high-energy particles that fly out of the galactic core at almost the speed of light.

As a prototype of the model, astronomers took spiral galaxies with a mass approximately equal to the Milky Way.

On the NASA Climate Simulation Center (NCCS) supercomputer, scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center ran 100 jet simulations.

Scientists have studied narrow beams of high-energy particles that shoot out at almost the speed of light from galactic nuclei, where supermassive black holes are located.

The mass of such black holes reaches millions or even billions of solar masses. They are found at the centers of active star-forming galaxies. Our Milky Way is one of these galaxies.

Because the jets originate from these active galactic nuclei, they “regulate the distribution of gas at the center of the galaxy and influence the rate of star formation,” said lead author Ryan Tanner.

“In our models, we focused on less studied low-luminosity jets and how such jets influence the evolution of their host galaxies.”

Jets

The first observations of jets from the centers of galaxies came from NASA and ESA radio and X-ray telescopes.

Over the past 30-40 years, astronomers have put together explanations for their origin by combining optical, radio, ultraviolet and X-ray observations.

“High luminosity jets are easier to find because they create massive structures that can be seen in radio observations,” says Tanner.

“Low luminosity jets are difficult to study through observations, so the astronomical community has less understanding of their nature.”

Astronomers on a supercomputer simulated jets flying out of the centers of galaxies 2
Jet from the center of the galaxy

To realistically simulate initial conditions, astronomers took a hypothetical galaxy the size of the Milky Way.

To distribute the gas and describe the galactic core, astronomers modeled the conditions for spiral galaxies such as NGC 1386, NGC 3079, and NGC 4945.

Of the 100 simulations conducted, the team selected 19 for publication, which took 800,000 hours of processors on the NCCS Discover supercomputer.

Astronomers on a supercomputer simulated jets flying out of the centers of galaxies 3
NASA supercomputer

Two main properties of low luminosity jets

The simulations allowed astronomers to identify the main differences between low-luminosity jets and high-energy jets.

Jets of low luminosity interact with the host galaxy much more strongly, they have a stronger influence on the interstellar medium inside the galaxy and are themselves influenced by it.

“We have demonstrated how the core affects its galaxy and creates physical features, such as tremors in the interstellar medium, which we have been observing for 30 years,” says co-author Kimberly Weaver.

“These results are in good agreement with optical and x-ray observations. It’s even amazing how closely the theory matches observations and answers longstanding questions about the centers of galaxies like NGC 1386. ”

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