By comparing 140 galaxies that had Active Galactic Nuclei with over 1200 galaxies in a ‘control group’, the likelihood that mergers are the cause of AGN has been brought into doubt. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Cisternas (Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy)
The large black holes that reside at the center of galaxies can be hungry beasts. As dust and gas are forced into the vicinity around the black holes, it crowds up and jostles together, emitting lots of heat and light. But what forces that gas and dust the last few light years into the maw of these supermassive black holes?
It has been theorized that mergers between galaxies disturbs the gas and dust in a galaxy, and forces the matter into the immediate neighborhood of the black hole. That is, until a recent study of 140 galaxies hosting Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) – another name for active black holes at the center of galaxies – provided strong evidence that many of the galaxies containing these AGN show no signs of past mergers. (…) Read the rest of Galactic Mergers Fail to Feed Black Holes (810 words)
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(C) nick for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | 15 comments | Add to del.icio.us Post
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