This black hole is an extreme recycler | Science News

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This black hole is an extreme recycler

Giant fountains of ejected gas cycle back to feed the hungry galaxy center

1:29pm, January 7, 2016
galaxy and gas fountains

RADICAL RECYCLING  A galaxy bathed in a pool of hot gas (blue) has fountains of hydrogen (red) erupting from its core, as seen in this composite image. A new study shows how these fountains get recycled into new stars and black hole food through a galaxy-sized pump.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Like a cosmic water fountain, a supermassive black hole is cycling gas through a galaxy-sized pump. The black hole powers jets that blast gas over 30,000 light-years away from the galaxy only to rain back down on a reservoir from which the black hole feeds. Yale University astronomer Grant Tremblay described this phenomenon January 6 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The fountain sits at the heart of a galaxy within the Abell 2597 cluster, a galactic gathering over 1 billion light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. Observations from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile reveal that the fountain billows into plumes with the mass of about 1 billion suns. The force of the jets appear to trigger the formation of new stars within these plumes. Most of the ejected gas falls back down

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