Astronomy

How Black Holes Kill Galaxies

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Black holes are really only dangerous if you get too close. Ha, who am I kidding. It turns out they may be responsible for ending star formation across the entire universe.

Hosted by Matt O’Dowd
Written by Matt O’Dowd
Graphics by Leonardo Scholzer
Directed by Andrew Kornhaber
Produced By: Kornhaber Brown

When we first realized that black holes could have masses of millions or even billions of times that of the sun, it came as a bit of a shock. They were discovered as the driving force behind quasars, where matter is heated to extreme incandescence before its plunge into vast black holes. But if that weren’t enough, we soon realized that every single decent-sized galaxy contains such a supermassive black hole. By the beginning of the 21st century it became clear that black holes and the galaxies that contain them are very closely connected. The bigger the galaxy, the bigger its supermassive black hole. That might not sound surprising. What was weird was how closely they were connected. There’s a tight correlation between the mass the central black hole and the mass of the stars in the galactic bulge – that’s the central ball-like part of a spiral galaxy, or the entirety of an elliptical galaxy, and every bulge contains a supermassive black hole around one-one-thousandth its mass. And there’s an even tighter relationship between the black hole mass and the speed that stars are moving in their random orbits within the galactic bulge – the so-called stellar velocity dispersion – which itself depends of the total mass of the galaxy, including dark matter.

Big Bang Supporters:

Anton Lifshits
David Nicklas
Fabrice Eap
Juan Benet
Justin Lloyd

Quasar Supporters:

Mark Heising
Mark Rosenthal
Tambe Barsbay
Vinnie Falco

Hypernova Supporters:
Chuck Zegar
Danton Spivey
Donal Botkin
Edmund Fokschaner
Hank S
John Hofmann
John R. Slavik
Jordan Young
Joseph Salomone
kkm
Mark Heising
Matthew
Matthew O’Connor
Syed Ansar

Gamma Ray Burst Supporters:

Adrien Hatch
Alexey Eromenko
Andreas Nautsch
Bradley Jenkins
Brandon Labonte
Carlo Mogavero
Daniel Lyons
David Behtala
DFaulk
Dustan Jones
Geoffrey Short
James Flowers
James Quintero
John Funai
John Pollock
Jonah
Jonathan Nesfeder
Joseph Dillman
Joseph Emison
Josh Thomas
Kevin Warne
Kyle Hofer
Malte Ubl
Mark Vasile
Nathan Hitchings
Nick Virtue
Paul Rose
Ryan Jones
Scott Gossett
Sigurd Ruud Frivik
Tim Jones
Tim Stephani
Tommy Mogensen
Yurii Konovaliuk
سلطان الخليفي

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