Even a small merger can trigger so much more than we realize.
Practically every galaxy in the Universe has a supermassive black hole at their core. Ranging from millions to many billions of solar masses, these cosmic behemoths are capable of behaving as engines: accreting and accelerating matter to tremendous speeds and temperatures, where they emit enormous amounts of radiation. Galaxies can remain in this active state for hundreds of millions of years, where they appear to us as active galactic nuclei or quasars, depending on their specific properties.
But why are some galaxies active while others aren’t? How long will the active ones we see remain active, and will some of the inactive ones turn on? What about flares? As it turns out, there’s a powerful connection between the surrounding galaxy, the processes occurring at the core, and the activity levels of the central black hole. Here to help us put it all together is Dr. Yashashree Jadhav, who takes us on a fascinating and far-ranging discussion about black holes, gas, stars, and much, much more! Enjoy it all on this edition of the Starts With A Bang podcast!
Starts With A Bang is written by Ethan Siegel, Ph.D., author of Beyond The Galaxy, and Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive.