Jets From a Supermassive Black Hole Shed More Light on How Galaxies Get Quenched

MG J0414+0534 is a galaxy 11 billion light-years away. Between our galaxy and MG J0414+0534, there is another galaxy that curiously helps the observations of it, acting like a natural lens of a telescope.

Recently, MG J0414+0534 was captured in the frame by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and it showed a fantastic event: the distant galaxy’s black hole expelling bipolar jets.

The natural cosmic lens helped ALMA and the astronomers to obtain a sharp image of the phenomenon. And sharp might be a small word if you think that it means 9000 times brighter than what the human eye could reach.

“With this extremely high resolution, we were able to obtain the distribution and motion of gaseous clouds around jets ejected from a supermassive black hole,” said Koichiro Nakanishi, an astronomer of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan/SOKENDAI.

Supermassive Black Hole Revealed More About Galaxies

The jets rather small dimensions led astronomers to believe that they are young jets, meaning that the black hole had only just started its quenching activity. In astronomy, quenching is a phenomenon occurring to galaxies in which star formation is turned off. Black holes blasting activity is one of the reasons scientists believe this happens. That’s why they are thrilled to have had captured this event in such an early stage.

Of course, there are also other possible reasons, such as quasar winds. Both bipolar jets and quasar winds have the means to blow away the clouds of dust and gas in a galaxy. To grow up, stars feed on those clouds by accreting the dust and the gasses. Since the two blasting events let them without nursery food, they end up dying even before they were born.

Also, the black hole, when it is not spilling the milk, is feasting on it. It greedily slurps whatever gets too close to its event horizon. And make no mistake: nothing gets out of a black hole. Not even light. The bipolar jets that seem to get out of it is an optical deception. It is ionized material that traveled at the speed of light from the accretion disc, along the magnetic field, and to the poles.

But let’s not get sentimental. “We found telltale evidence of significant interaction between jets and gaseous clouds even in the very early evolutionary phase of jets. I think that our discovery will pave the way for a better understanding of the evolutionary process of galaxies in the early Universe,” said Kaiki Inoue, an astronomer of the Kindai University in Japan.

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