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Entering A Galaxy Cluster Leads To A Feast For Supermassive Black Holes

In the cosmos, many galaxies are found in clusters, huge collections of dozens to hundreds of galaxies. But like joining a private club, becoming a member may be expensive. A galaxy entering the cluster may lose gas, the fuel for its star production because the atmosphere inside the cluster is very pressured compared to the outside.

Nearly all galaxies include supermassive black holes at their center, which eat the same gas that stars consume to develop. The solution to the question of what would happen if a galaxy entered a cluster may now be known: the black holes have a substantial last feast.

Researchers have noticed that a considerable portion of galaxies joining clusters has an active black hole, as published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Because of the gas that trails behind them like tendrils, earning them the moniker "jellyfish galaxies," you can determine that they are brand-new members.

The scientists calculated why some galaxies may continue to feed their supermassive black holes even as they lose gas using sophisticated simulations. It turns out that the size of the galaxy is a factor. The pressure of the cluster will inhibit both star formation and black hole feeding if the galaxy's total stellar mass is less than 3 billion solar masses.

But things are different in bigger galaxies. Although the galaxy continues to lose gas, the pressure from the intergalactic medium increases the quantity of matter that, at least temporarily, enters the black hole. Its final meal will be a grand banquet, but the gas will finally run out!

"We are aware of the complex interactions between the star generation in the host galaxy and the feeding behavior of the central supermassive black holes. It has proven difficult to pinpoint exactly how they function in various larger-scale situations. Our research has identified this intricate interaction "Yale's Faculty of Arts and Sciences senior author Professor Priyamvada Natarajan stated in a release.

Over time, the increased black hole activity leads to gas loss. Regardless of size, all jellyfish galaxies ultimately run out of gas because active black holes spit material out as they consume it.

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