A group of European astronomers led by UK scientists used the MUSE and X-shooter instruments from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile to study an ongoing collision between two galaxies known as IRAS F23128- 5919, located 600 million light years from Earth.
Observing the colossal winds or ejections of matter jets that originate near the supermassive black hole in the heart of this couple’s southern galaxy, astronomers have discovered the first clear evidence of star formation within a black hole.
The observations thus revealed that stars form within these powerful ejections of matter ejected by the supermassive black holes in the galaxy nuclei. This is undoubtedly the first confirmed observations of stars that are formed in this type of extreme environment, which will have many consequences in the study of astronomy, in the face of our understanding of the characteristics and evolution of galaxies.
Thus, supermassive black holes not only devour stars but also form new ones.
«Astronomers have long thought that the conditions within these streams might be suitable for star formation, but no one has actually seen that, as this is a very difficult observation. Our results are exciting because they show unambiguously That stars are being created within these outflows, «explains Robert Maiolino of the University of Cambridge and leader of the work.
By analyzing in detail the properties of the emitted light, they obtained an unmistakable direct detection of an infant population of stars in the outflow of the supermassive black hole.
Astronomers believe these stars are less than a few tens of millions of years old and preliminary analysis suggests they are hotter and brighter than stars formed in less extreme environments like the galactic disk. The light from most of the stars in the region indicates that they are traveling at enormous speeds away from the center of the galaxy.
«If star formation is actually occurring in most galactic ejections, as some theories predict, then this would provide a completely new scenario for our understanding of the evolution of galaxies»