NASA's Hubble Telescope Detects Quasar Tsunamis Ripping Across Galaxies (Photo Credit: NASA)
Hubble Space Telescope, which belongs to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), has spotted the most energetic outflows ever witnessed in the universe. Yes, you read it right. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, the astronomers have detected quasars tsunamis ripping across galaxies. It is to be noted that Quasars are extremely remote celestial objects, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy. Quasars contain supermassive black holes fueled by infalling matter that can shine 1,000 times brighter than their host galaxies of hundreds of billions of stars.
"No other phenomena carries more mechanical energy. Over the lifetime of 10 million years, these outflows produce a million times more energy than a gamma-ray burst," explained principal investigator Nahum Arav of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
"The winds are pushing hundreds of solar masses of material each year. The amount of mechanical energy that these outflows carry is up to several hundreds of times higher than the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy," he added.
According to NASA, the quasar winds snowplow across the galaxy's disk. Material that otherwise would have formed new stars is violently swept from the galaxy, causing star birth to cease. "Radiation pushes the gas and dust to far greater distances than scientists previously thought, creating a galaxy-wide event," NASA said.
"Both theoreticians and observers have known for decades that there is some physical process that shuts off star formation in massive galaxies, but the nature of that process has been a mystery. Putting the observed outflows into our simulations solves these outstanding problems in galactic evolution," said cosmologist Jeremiah P Ostriker of Columbia University in New York and Princeton University in New Jersey.
It is worth mentioning here that the findings were published in a series of six papers in March this year, as a focus issue of The Astrophysical Journal Supplements.
Recently, NASA’s Hubble Telescope captured that image of a ‘galactic traffic jam’ more than 60 million light-years away. Importantly, Hubble team has won the 2020 Michael Collins Trophy. Through its 30 years of discoveries and awesome celestial images, the legendary Hubble Space Telescope has redefined the universe for new generations of astronomers and the public alike. In recognition of Hubble's scientific prowess and longevity, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has awarded its 2020 Collins Trophy for Current Achievement to the Hubble operations team.