Astronomers watched a galactic tsunami sweep away stars

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — American scientists who studied the energy emissions of quasars – the most powerful energy flows in the Universe, have come to the conclusion that such emissions, like tsunami waves, push dust and gas out of the boundaries of galaxies, stopping the formation of stars.

The results of the study are published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Supplements.

Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe. They arise when a supermassive black hole, which is located in the center of almost every galaxy, absorbs too much matter.

In this case, the gravitational energy of incidence is converted into heat and light, and jets of gas and plasma are ejected from the center of the black hole, which are accelerated to huge speeds of several percent of the speed of light.

Studying the data obtained using the Hubble Space Telescope, astrophysicists from the Virginia Polytechnic University came to the conclusion that the most powerful quasar ejections can stop the formation of stars in the galaxy.

“Quasars are compact nuclei of distant galaxies that can shine a thousand times brighter than their galaxies, consisting of hundreds of millions of stars. Their central engines are supermassive black holes that are filled with falling dust, gas and stars,” the press reports. The University’s release says research leader Nahum Arav, a professor in the Department of Physics at Virginia Tech College.

Scientists have found that quasars with powerful radiation appear when a giant amount of gas accumulates near a black hole as a result of a collision of galaxies. Ejected from a black hole in the form of jets, it heats up to a billion degrees, after which it begins to glow over the entire visible spectrum.

This gas in the form of quasar winds – extremely high-energy energy flows – like a tsunami, spreads through the galaxy’s disk, violently sweeping away material from which new stars could form. As a result of this process, the quasar goes out, and star formation stops in the galaxy itself.

“These streams are crucial for understanding the process of galaxy formation,” Araw explains. “They push hundreds of solar masses of material every year. The amount of mechanical energy these streams carry is several hundred times higher than the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy.”

The results of the study showed that black hole radiation pushes gas and dust to much greater distances than previously thought, these are tsunamis of a galactic scale. According to the authors of the study, the observed effect explains the reason why scientists so far have not been able to detect a large number of large galaxies outside the Milky Way.

Probably, quasar tsunamis heat gas and dust through which they pass, creating a light spot that does not allow the galaxies themselves to be seen.
When a galactic tsunami crashes into interstellar material, its temperature rises sharply, and the material begins to glow throughout the light spectrum, but above all, in x-rays.

“Anyone who witnesses this event will see a fantastic show of fireworks,” the scientist says. “First you will get a lot of radiation in x-rays and gamma rays, and then it will leak into the zone of visible and infrared light.”

Both theoretical astrophysicists and observer astronomers have long assumed that there is a physical process that stops star formation in massive galaxies, but the nature of this process was a mystery. This study shows that such powerful quasar flows should have been common in the early Universe.

One of the accelerated gas flows recorded by the authors had a record speed, which over the three years of observation only increased – from 69.2 to 74 million kilometers per hour. This is the fastest and highest-energy flow of matter ever observed in the Universe.


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