Black Hole is Boosting Star Birth

Black hole boosting star birth

This composite image combines data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). Chandra observed powerful X-rays (red) produced by hot gas circling around a black hole at the center of a galaxy located 9.9 billion light-years from Earth. The VLA was used to detect radio-wave emissions (blue) emitted by the jet of high-energy particles streaming from the black hole.

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/INAF/R. Gilli et al.; Radio NRAO/VLA; Optical: NASA/STScI)


By Samantha Mathewson – Science & Astronomy

Although black holes are notorious for devouring any matter that gets too close, these cosmic behemoths may have a nurturing side too. Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, researchers discovered a black hole that has sparked star formation in multiple galaxies across tremendous distances. “This is the first time we’ve seen a single black hole boost star birth in more than one galaxy at a time,” Roberto Gilli, lead author of the study and a researcher from the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) in Bologna, Italy, said in a statement from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. “It’s amazing to think one galaxy’s black hole can have a say in what happens in other galaxies millions of trillions of miles away.”

The black hole is located at the centre of a galaxy about 9.9 billion light-years from Earth. Scientists believe it has spurred star formation in at least four neighbouring galaxies that are more than 1 million light-years away — the longest distance over which a black hole has ever triggered the formation of new stars, according to the statement.

Stars generally form where gas and dust build up, creating what is known as a stellar nursery. Active supermassive black holes generate powerful outflows of material, or jets, from which new stars may form. “The story of King Midas talks of his magic touch that can turn metal into gold,” Marco Mignoli, co-author of the study and researcher from the INAF, said in the statement. “Here we have a case of a black hole that helped turn gas into stars, and its reach is intergalactic.” Black holes feed off material from a disk of surrounding matter. This process produces powerful X-ray emissions, which researchers observed using Chandra. This data was combined with observations from the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), which detected radio-wave emissions produced by the jet of particles streaming from the black hole.

The Chandra data also revealed that one end of the jet is surrounded by a bubble of hot gas, which is created by the jet’s particles interacting with the surrounding matter. Over time, the bubble expanded toward the neighbouring galaxies and potentially created a shock wave that caused nearby gas to compress and form new stars, according to the statement. “Black holes have a well-earned reputation for being powerful and deadly, but not always,” Alessandro Peca, co-author of the study and Ph.D. student at the University of Miami, said in the statement. “This is a prime example that they sometimes defy that stereotype and can be nurturing instead.”

Their findings were published on 18th September in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.


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Black hole boosting star birth

BBQ Tuesday

First picture of water on Mars




Tuesday 10th December 2019


Our end-of-year barbecue is planned for this Tuesday 10th December at the earlier time of 7pm.

Committee member Jonathon Palmer will present an astronomical quiz, with prizes for the children (and maybe the young at heart).

Come along for celestial viewing, test your knowledge of things astronomical, refreshments, and lots of talking.

Our telescopes will be operating. We plan to set up our solar telescope to view the Sun, and set up other telescopes with solar filters. On-screen we’ll see a couple of articles about the Parker Solar Probe.

bored telescope wearing santa hat





Water on Mars



In summary –


Tuesday 10th December

Fergusson Park Observatory, Tilby Drive, Matua, Tauranga.


Program starting at 7pm:


Telescope Viewing of the Sun



Admission to the barbecue –

Members and their children free.

Non-members: Adults $5, children $2 each.

 santa viewing thru scope

Telescope viewing possible only with zero or minimum cloud cover.


Happy skies everyone.


Kevin Patmore



TAS large




Affliated With:


With funding support from:


Slooh Space Camera


NASA astronomy picture of the day