UMKC astronomer shares black hole secret
A team of astronomers including Mark Brodwin, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, have discovered a surprising connection between a supermassive black hole and the galaxy in which it resides.
“Astronomers have long understood that some process must be heating the gas, keeping it from cooling down and forming stars,” said Brodwin, who recently won a NASA Group Achievement Award from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Previous observations have shown that powerful jets from the monster black holes heat the cluster gas, and push it out away from the central galaxy. The mystery was how the black hole could keep this up without a fresh supply of cold gas to fuel it. The new ALMA observations show that a side effect of the black hole heating is the stimulation of cold, molecular gas, thus completing the cycle.”
The European Space Agency selected Brodwin as one of its NASA-nominated science team members to participate in its Euclid mission. NASA is a partner in Euclid, a space telescope designed to probe the mysteries of our dark universe. Scientists think dark energy is responsible for stretching our universe apart at ever-increasing speeds.
Euclid is scheduled to launch in 2020 and spend six years mapping the locations and measuring the shapes of as many as 2 billion galaxies spread over more than one-third of the sky. The scientists will use Euclid to study the dark energy and dark matter that drive the evolution in the universe in ways that are still poorly understood.
Read more about Brodwin in UMKC Today.