One of the most enduring mysteries behind the dynamics of supermassive black holes, and their impacts on galactic evolution, has been uncovered by an international team of astrophysicists.
Using the ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in the Atacama desert in northern Chile, researchers from the UK, Netherlands and the US have studied the core of a nearby galaxy in great detail. The galaxy, called IC5063, has a very active central supermassive black hole that appears to drive rapid outflows of molecular hydrogen from the galaxy. IC5063 is known as a Seyfert galaxy, a very active type of galaxy with a bright core.
ANALYSIS: Supermassive Black Holes are Not Doughnuts!
Many active galactic nuclei have been observed with these outflow features and, as molecular hydrogen is key to the formation of stars, astronomers have realized that its ejection impacts star formation and, therefore, galactic evolution. As the majority of galaxies are thought to contain supermassive behemoths in their cores, the activity of these black holes (that have masses of tens to hundreds of millions of suns) can control the quantity of gas supplied to star forming regions.