NASA discover amazing black hole that gives birth to new stars
NASA has made a startling discovery during the Hubble Space Telescope's latest round of research.
Hubble, which is in the process of being replaced by the brand new James Webb telescope, first launched in 1990 although the idea for a telescope in space first surfaced a full 50 years beforehand in 1940.
The telescope has been taking a look at a galaxy called dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10, which is around 30million lightyears away.
Henize is little – it has only got around one 10th of the number of stars found in our own galaxy, known as the Milky Way.
The latest discovery shows some very surprising behaviour for a black hole.
What has the Hubble Telescope found?
When peering at dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10, the legendary telescope spotted that the black hole at its centre is creating stars rather than eating them up.
According to NASA, Amy Reines, the principal investigator of the Hubble observations published in Nature and the person who first published information about a black hole in the galaxy said: "Ten years ago, as a graduate student thinking I would spend my career on star formation, I looked at the data from Henize 2-10 and everything changed.
"From the beginning, I 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 hole and a neighbouring star forming region located 230 light-years from the black hole".
The connection in question is a flow of gas acting like an "umbilical cord to a bright stellar nursery".
Hubble has picked up that the flow of gas is moving at around one million miles per hour, hitting into a dense cloud of gas like "a garden hose hitting a pile of dirt and spreading out".
Where the outflow has spread, "newborn star clusters dot the path".
NASA report that due to the smaller size of the black hole compared to larger ones, the flow out of it is gentler and so the gas is compressed to just the right amount to create new stars.
Reines' graduate student and lead author of the new paper, Zachary Schutte said: "At only 30 million light-years away, Henize 2-10 is close enough that Hubble was able to capture both images and spectroscopic evidence of a black hole outflow very clearly.
"The additional surprise was that, rather than suppressing star formation, the outflow was triggering the birth of new stars," NASA report.
What is a black hole?
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According to NASA, a black hole is: "A place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
"Because no light can get out, people can't see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars."
How Big is a black hole?
Black holes can vary in size from enormous to minuscule – but even the smallest have an enormous mass because of their density.
Nasa says: "Scientists think the smallest black holes are as small as just one atom. These black holes are very tiny but have the mass of a large mountain. Mass is the amount of matter, or "stuff," in an object.
"Another kind of black hole is called "stellar." Its mass can be up to 20 times more than the mass of the sun. There may be many, many stellar mass black holes in Earth's galaxy. Earth's galaxy is called the Milky Way.
"The largest black holes are called "supermassive." These black holes have masses that are more than 1 million suns together. Scientists have found proof that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its centre. The supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A."
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