Gallagher, professor of physics and astronomy at Western University, studies the winds from these black holes, which can be a million to a billion times more massive than our sun. And if you ask any child you know, they are certain to agree that this is awesome.
Listening to Gallagher describe supermassive black holes, it’s hard not to agree that they are amazing.
“When these black holes are growing, they grow because gas is funneling around, in this sort of whirlpool, and falling into the black hole. The light that is generated in the gas falling into the black hole is so amazingly bright that it can outshine the trillions of stars in the host galaxy by a thousand times,” says Gallagher.
“That incredible power that comes out in light is actually so strong that it can blow gas out into the galaxy at speeds of up to thousands of kilometres per second.”
One of the secrets to discoveries in astronomy is the way in which the scientific community shares data. The Hubble Space Telescope is just one example that is joined by many others, including the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, covering every wavelength of light, and reporting back data from space that can’t be seen from the ground.
All of the images captured by these telescopes are archived and publicly available within a year for any scientist to study.