Astronomers have discovered what can happen when a giant black hole does not intervene in the life of a galaxy cluster.
Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes they have shown that passive black hole behavior may explain a remarkable torrent of star formation occurring in a distant cluster of galaxies.
Galaxy clusters contain hundreds or thousands of galaxies pervaded by hot, X-ray emitting gas that outweighs the combined mass of all the galaxies. Ejections of material powered by a supermassive black hole in the cluster’s central galaxy usually prevent this hot gas from cooling to form vast numbers of stars. This heating allows supermassive black holes to influence or control the activity and evolution of their host cluster.