Black Hole Helped Astronomers Unravel The ‘Jellyfish’ Galaxy

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Black holes have fascinated researchers for a long while, and a new study aims to highlight the role played by a black hole in the destruction of a rare jellyfish galaxy.

Unlike other types of galaxies, jellyfish galaxies will face a robust transformation process as they travel through the incredibly dense core of a galactic cluster while moving at supersonic speeds. The powerful drag forces will remove the gas present in the galaxy as a process known under the name of ram-pressure stripping will occur.

As a result, the affected galaxy will feature tentacles of material which follow it. The grim fate of JO201 is included in a paper which surveys several 114 jellyfish galaxies. The article was elaborated by GASP, an international team of researchers.

Black Hole Helped Astronomers Unravel The ‘Jellyfish’ Galaxy

The team created advanced simulations of the jellyfish galaxies, which allow it to track the transformation. JO201, which was a spiral galaxy, traveled through a massive cluster called Abell 85 for a period of almost 1 billion years. As the galaxy continues to travel the tentacles can be seen in the model. It is estimated that they reach a length of 94 kiloparsecs, up to three times bigger than the diameter of the Milky Way.

It is well-known that a galaxy can keep itself alive by forming new stars with the help of cosmic gas. By understanding the patterns followed by gas as it goes into or exits a galaxy, we can learn more about how it evolves.

When JO201 underwent the conversion process into a jellyfish galaxy, the star formation rate increased briefly due to the ram-pressure stripping which affected the galaxy. In the past few hundred million years, the black hole present in the middle of the galaxy started to consume large amounts of gas, releasing a significant shockwave which generated a notable cavity. The case of JO201 is quite spectacular, and there is much to learn by observing the evolution of the galaxy in the future.

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