James Webb Space Telescope peered into the heart of the galaxy and showed how stars are born

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers at the University of California, Irvine have studied the galaxy NGC 7469 using the ultra-sensitive mid-infrared instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope.

Scientists conducted a detailed analysis of the interaction between the active galactic nucleus, which is dominated by a supermassive black hole, and the surrounding regions, where the processes of star birth are taking place.

One of the most interesting processes in the life of a galaxy is the interaction of its core with the surrounding space. “James Webb” made it possible to see it.

A team of astronomers from the University of California, Irvine, using the James Webb Space Telescope, explored the galaxy NGC 7469 . This galaxy is located at a distance of 228 million light years from Earth.

Astronomers have analyzed the interaction between an active galactic nucleus, dominated by a supermassive black hole, and the surrounding regions, where the process of star birth is actively going on.

Lead author Vivian Wu said : “We see not only the wind from the supermassive black hole, but also the ‘shock heating’ of gas caused by this wind near the galactic core.”

Vivian Wu noted that the heating occurs when the wind from the black hole at the center of the galaxy pushes against the surrounding dense gas, creating a shock front.

This effect can influence star formation in two opposite ways, she says: by compressing the gas, it can help create new stars, but the wind can also destroy the newborn star.

Looking through galactic dust

James Webb Space Telescope peered into the heart of the galaxy and showed how stars are born 2
Galaxy Center NGC_7469

NGC 7469 is a bright galaxy with an active center that hosts a supermassive black hole and a ring of star forming regions.

For decades, astronomers have been trying to study the detailed dynamics of such galaxies.

They make up about 10% of all galaxies in the universe, but dust covers their centers. Now the James Webb has given astronomers the opportunity to see what lies behind the dust curtain.

“Now we have a clearer picture at least in this system of how the active galactic nucleus is expelling gas, and how this is affecting the surrounding material,” added Vivian W.

“We are seeing clear signs that that winds driven by black holes are spewing energy into the interstellar medium.”

A significant contribution to the dynamics of the motion of NGC 7469 is made by a galaxy close to it, with which it merges.

“Interaction with another galaxy means that galactic materials move as a result of tidal forces and are pulled towards the center of the galactic system.

This process leads to the fact that the center of the galaxy becomes very dusty,” said Vivian W.

“That is why instruments like those on board the James Webb are so needed. They allow us to see through the dust and make it easier to understand the core dynamics of merging galaxies.”

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