Astronomers have stumbled upon a secret in the heart of the Milky Way: shooting dense, cold gas out of the field “like bullets.”
Researchers are not sure what the source of the gas is or how it is being driven so fast. They have previously seen hot gas flow, but not cold gas that is hard to move due to being heavy. The cold gas flow may possibly be due to a supermassive black hole in the region or perhaps related to star formation due to cosmic winds.
Johns Hopkins University lead author Drs. “This is the first time we have seen something like this in our galaxy,” Enrico de Tedoro said in a statement. “We see similar processes happening in other galaxies. But, with outer galaxies you get more massive black holes, more star formation activity, this makes it easier for the galaxy to expand material. And these other galaxies are clearly so far away, we cannot see them in great detail.
“Our own galaxy is almost like a laboratory that we can actually get to and try to understand how closely things work.”
The center of the Milky Way, shown here in an infrared image captured by NASA’s now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, is a strange place with features such as a massive and hungry supermassive black hole and unusual stretched G objects that behave in unexpected ways. Does. The region is believed to be where most of the Milky Way stars formed 8 to 13.5 billion years ago when the galaxy was young.
But since then star formation has stopped in this region, and the flow of this cold gas may contribute to it. “It can be really cool to have galaxies shoot themselves in the foot,” a writer at Australian National University Professor Naomi McClure-Griffith explained in the statement. “When you take out a lot of mass, you’re losing some material that can be used to make stars, and if you lose enough of it, the galaxy will build stars at all. Can not
“So, to be able to see signs of the Milky Way is exciting to lose this star-forming gas – it makes you wonder what is going to happen next!”
The findings are published in the journal Nature.