The massive maelstrom that rages in the youth of the universe could help scientists better understand how galaxies and their central black holes interact.
Most, if not all, galaxies are based on a supermassive black hole. In our own Milky Way, there is, for example, a monster known as Sagittarius A *, which is about as massive as 4.3 million suns.
Galaxies and their supermassive black holes are closely related. The objects seem to evolve together, possibly driven by the “winds” that generate the central black holes, devouring dust and gas. The gravity of the black holes accelerates this falling material to incredibly high speeds, forcing it to release energy that can blow other material outward.
Connected: Black holes of the Universe (images)
“The question is, when did galactic winds originate in the universe?” Takuma Izumi, researcher at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), said in a statement… “This is an important question because it relates to an important problem in astronomy: how did galaxies and supermassive black holes evolve together?”
Takumi headed a group of researchers who worked on these issues. Using the Subaru NAOJ telescope in Hawaii, scientists have discovered more than 100 duets of galaxies and supermassive black holes that are at least 13 billion light-years from Earth, that is, they existed more than 13 billion years ago. (It took so long for their light to reach the Earth.) The universe was then young, relatively speaking; The Big Bang happened about 13.82 billion years ago.
The team then investigated the movement of gas in these galaxies with the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array (ALMA), a network of powerful radio telescopes in Chile. ALMA data showed that a galaxy called HSC J124353.93 + 010038.5 has a galactic wind moving at about 1.1 million miles per hour (1.8 km / h) – fast enough to force a lot of material out and inhibit star formation activity …
HSC J124353.93 + 010038.5 is located 13.1 billion light years from Earth. And this makes it a record holder: the earliest known galaxy with significant wind was an object about 13 billion light-years away, the researchers say.
IN new results, which were published online in the Astrophysical Journal on June 14, shed additional light on the very close and very long-standing relationship between galaxies and their central black holes.
“Our observations support recent high-precision computer simulations that predicted co-evolutionary relationships even existed about 13 billion years ago,” Izumi said. “We plan to observe a large number of such objects in the future and hope to find out if the original co-evolution observed in this object is an accurate picture of the overall universe at that time.”
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.