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A Back Hole Fueling Star Birth has Scientists Doing a Double Take

Black Hole are best known for shredding stars, devouring light and acting like massive garbage disposals in space. Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that these energetic celestial objects have a nurturing side.

Hubble’s observation of a dwarf starburst galaxy, called Henize 2-10, revealed a gaseous umbilical cord stretching from a Black Hole at the center of the galaxy to a stellar nursery where stars are born. A dwarf starburst galaxy is a small galaxy with an intense amount of star formation.

Star birth requires a dense cloud of gas and dust. The stream of gas provided by the Black Hole actually triggered a fireworks show of star birth as it interacted with the cloud, which led to a cluster of forming stars. The galaxy is located 30 million light-years away in the Pyxis constellation.While large galaxies are known to contain a supermassive Black Hole at their center, galaxies like Henize 2-10 have caused astronomers to debate if the same is possible in smaller-scale cosmic settings. Compared to the massive Milky Way galaxy and its billions of stars, Henize 2-10 only has about a tenth of the stars.

Amy Reines, an assistant professor in the department of physics at Montana State University and the study author said that from the beginning they knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10, and now Hubble has provided a very clear picture of the connection between the black and a neighboring star forming region located 230 light-years from the Black Hole.

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