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Herschel
Space
Observatory

An
ESA
Mission
with
Participation
from
NASA

 

NASA
Herschel
Science
Center's
Portal
to
the
Cool
Universe

Black Hole Wind

Nhsc2015-001c

Some supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies are devouring the surrounding material. They also divert part of it away through powerful winds and jets.

Astronomers studying the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy IRAS F11119+3257 have found proof that the winds blown by the black hole are sweeping away the host galaxys reservoir of raw material to form stars.

This finding was made by using ESAs Herschel space observatory, together with the Suzaku X-ray astronomy satellite. Combining these data, the astronomers could detect the winds driven by the central black hole in X-rays, and their global effect, pushing the galactic gas away, at infrared wavelengths.

This artist's impression shows how the black hole accretes the surrounding matter through a disc (orange). Part of the accreted material is pushed away in a wind (blue), which in turn powers a large-scale galactic outflow of molecular gas (red).