Outflowing gas from galaxy supermassive black hole nuclei

June 4, 2018, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Outflowing gas from galaxy supermassive black hole nuclei
An image of the galaxy Markarian 348 in the ultraviolet. Its active nucleus powers outflowing atomic gas, and new observations of it and four similar galaxies have been able to image the outflow as well as a rotating gas component. Credit: NASA/GALEX

Supermassive black holes at the nuclei of most galaxies, including our Milky Way, develop gradually as material accretes onto the seed black hole. The physical processes that drive this growth – the so-called feeding and feedback processes – occur in the vicinity of the galaxy nucleus. When the accretion becomes active, radiation is emitted that illuminates and ionizes the gas in the vicinity of the nucleus.

Accretion disc winds can interact with the gas to produce outflowing gas that is observed to reach velocities of hundreds of km/sec. Relativistic jets of particles emanating from the black hole can also interact with his material. These various kinds of feedback are essential to avoid producing overly massive galaxies.

Clear evidence for all these processes has been detected in their optical emission lines of ionized atoms, whose velocities can be measured. However it has been much hard to obtain spatial information about the geometry of the excited gas. CfA astronomer Martin Elvis and nine colleagues used the Gemini eight-meter telescope and a powerful new instrument that records both high-resolution spatial (as small as a few hundred light-years in size) and information.

The team studied five relatively nearby galaxies known to have active black hole nuclei with bright atomic emission. They discovered that in all cases the gas has two major components, one rotating and one outflowing. But otherwise the are all somewhat different: in one the gas rotates opposite to its stars, in another only one lobe of the outflow can be seen, and there are other differences as well. The new paper is just the first in a series expected to probe and model in detail how nuclear grow.

Explore further: Black holes play hide-and-seek in low-luminosity radio galaxies

More information: I C Freitas et al. Outflows in the narrow-line region of bright Seyfert galaxies – I. GMOS-IFU data, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2018). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty303

Related Stories

Imaging a galaxy's molecular outflow

March 9, 2018

A merger between galaxies can trigger can intense radiation from bursts star formation and from the accretion of gas onto the two supermassive black holes at their centers. Astronomers have observed a strong statistical correlation ...

the geometry of nuclear black hole accretion disks

January 3, 2018

Supermassive black holes with millions or even billions of solar-masses of material are found at the nuclei of most galaxies, including our Milky Way. A torus of dust and gas orbits around the black hole (at least according ...

Finding galaxies with active nuclei

April 27, 2018

The nuclei of most galaxies host supermassive black holes with millions or even billions of solar-masses of material. Material in the vicinity of such black holes can accrete onto a torus of dust and gas around the black ...

The structure of an active galactic nucleus

January 24, 2018

The nuclei of most galaxies host supermassive black holes containing millions to billions of solar-masses of material. The immediate environments of these black holes typically include a tori of dust and gas and, as material ...

Recommended for you

Three NASA missions return first-light data

September 21, 2018

NASA's continued quest to explore our solar system and beyond received a boost of new information this week with three key missions proving not only that they are up and running, but that their science potential is exceptional. ...

Dwarf companion to EPIC 206011496 detected by astronomers

September 20, 2018

Using ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), European astronomers have uncovered the presence of an M-dwarf around the star EPIC 206011496. The newly found object is more than 60 percent less massive than our sun and is bounded ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2018
They discovered that in all cases the gas has two major components, one rotating and one outflowing.

Please note the reserved emphasis here: In all cases, the gas is outflowing! LOL. Just like I have been saying for years, despite the ridicule from merger maniacs all the way.
rrwillsj
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2018
Tux, the difference is, you accept a incompetently worded clickbait headline as gospel truth.

You advocate that these phenomena are exits pouring out new worlds and stars from somewhere else, into our universe. In some sort of anti-gravitational repulsion?

This article claims these phenomena are what many scientists call a Black Hole. (that's the best they could come up with?) A singularity point of extreme gravitational attraction.

Surrounded by a torus of very energetic gases and debris. That in all the mishmash of heavy traffic, some falls inward and some gets kicked out. Kinda of a cross between demolition derby and roller derby with a bit of moshpit hysteria with heavy doses of cocaine and ecstasy.

My problem with your hypothesis is, that if you are correct? Regions of space surrounding your egress whatevers should have only new stars squirting out.

However that is not what is observed by those who actually use telescope to look at the events.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jun 04, 2018
They discovered that in all cases the gas has two major components, one rotating and one outflowing.

The distinctive characteristics of a galactic electric Birkeland current. Electric currents flow at every scale in an Electric Universe.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.