Black holes emit 'ferocious' winds that prevent star formation

London, Feb. 21 - Astronomers have revealed that black holes emit ferocious winds that eventually drives away galaxy's reservoir of molecular gas, the raw material that is needed for stars to form.

Astronomers have discovered that the winds from supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies blow outward in all directions, a suspected phenomenon that had been difficult to prove before now.

The new findings, by an international team of astrophysicists, were made possible by simultaneous observations of the luminous quasar PDS 456 with ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's NuSTAR X-ray telescopes, and support the picture of black holes having a significant impact on star formation in their host galaxies.

By training two space telescopes on a supermassive black hole with the mass of a billion Suns, they measured the strength of its ferocious winds.

With the shape and extent of the winds determined, the researchers could then figure out their power and answer general questions about the degree to which they can quench the formation of new stars.

Astronomers think that supermassive black hole and their galaxies co-evolve together, regulating each other's growth. For more than a decade astronomers have investigated the correlation between the mass of stars in the bulge of a galaxy and the mass of its central black hole, yet it was by no means obvious that the black hole could have an impact on its host galaxy as a whole.

The data indicated that the out flowing material amounts to about ten times the mass of the Sun every year, and that the kinetic power it releases into the surroundings was about 20 percent of the total energy emitted by the quasar.

The wide shape of the wind suggested that the black hole must have quite an impact on the host galaxy, and the estimated amounts of mass and energy that are being blown away seem to confirm that the outflow was able to trigger an effective feedback mechanism on the galaxy as a whole.

The research is published in the journal Science. (ANI)