Growing Black Holes Have Much in Common With Baby Stars

Assisted by magnetic fields, a spiraling wind helps the supermassive black hole in galaxy ESO320-G030 grow. In this illustration, the core of the galaxy is dominated by a rotating wind of dense gas leading outwards from the (hidden) supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center. The motions of the gas, traced by light from molecules of hydrogen cyanide, have been measured with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. Image credit: M. D. Gorski/Aaron M. Geller, Northwestern University, CIERA, the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics.

First looks would tell most observers that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) and very young stars have nothing in common. But that’s not true. Astronomers have detected a supermassive black hole (SMBH) whose growth is regulated the same way a baby star’s is: by magnetic winds.

Continue reading “Growing Black Holes Have Much in Common With Baby Stars”