Key point: The Hubble telescope just spotted a 500-light-year-long ‘umbilical cord’ for baby stars
Original author and publication date: Ben Turner – January 20, 2022
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: If a black hole can “give birth” to stars, what else could emerge from a black hole?
From the article:
Astronomers have spotted a black hole “giving birth” to stars at the center of a nearby dwarf galaxy — and the stellar newborns are tethered to the black hole by a massive “umbilical cord” made of gas and dust.
The supermassive black hole, situated roughly 34 million light-years away in the galaxy Henize 2-10, was seen spewing an enormous, 500-light-year-long jet of ionized gas from its center at around 1 million mph (1.6 million km/h), contributing to a “firestorm” of new star formation in a nearby stellar nursery.
The discovery, made using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, is the first time a black hole in a dwarf galaxy (a galaxy with 1 billion or fewer stars) has been seen birthing stars. The remarkable finding was described in a study published Jan. 19 in the journal Nature.
“From the beginning, I knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10, and now Hubble has provided a very clear picture of the connection between the black hole and a neighboring star-forming region located 230 light-years from the black hole,” study co-author Amy Reines, an astrophysicist at Montana State University, said in a statement.
“Hubble’s amazing resolution clearly shows a corkscrew-like pattern in the velocities of the gas, which we can fit to the model of a precessing, or wobbling, outflow from a black hole.”
Astronomers observed the jet’s thin tendril stretching out from the black hole and across space to a bright stellar nursery. Supermassive black holes — which are millions to billions the size of stellar-mass black holes — have been spotted spewing cosmic plumes before, but until now, astronomers thought that these jets hindered, rather than helped, star formation in dwarf galaxies.