Supermassive black holes produce new stars and launch them out the galaxy at massive speed

ESO's VLT detects brand new type of star formation


Astronomers have discovered in the powerful outflows, emitted by supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, stars are born. This is a prime because this has never been observed before.

“At the end of this article you will find the live session video”

A collision between two galaxies, also known as the IRAS F23128-5919, has been investigated by a team of European astronomers. They used the MUSE and X-Shooter instruments of the Very Large Telescope. The intergalactic collision is happening at a safe distance of about 600 million light years of earth. The astronomers have observed the enormous winds or currents of matter that arise in the region of the supermassive black hole in the heart of the southernmost system of the two. They discovered evidence that stars are born.

IRAS F23128-5919
ESO 148-2 — Seyfert 2 Galaxy

Such galactic outflows are driven by the huge amount of energy produced by the turbulent active cores of galaxies. At the core of most galaxies, supermassive black holes are hidden, and when the material is blocked, they heat the surrounding gas in such a way that the mother’s system is blown out in the form of powerful winds.

Team leader Roberto Maiolino said astronomers had suspected that these conditions may be suitable for star formation.

Thanks to the spectroscopic instrumentation of the VLT — MUSE and X-shooter — they were able to investigate the characteristics of the transmitted light in a very detailed way and thus determine its source.


The astronomers suspect that these stars are at most several tens of millions of years old and research has shown that they are hotter and brighter than the stars in a less extreme environment.

This discovery provides new information that can help solve some astrophysical issues, such as the question

  • How some galaxies managed to keep their shape
  • How the intergalactic space can be enriched with heavy elements
  • Where the enigmatic cosmic infrared background radiation may come from

Maiolino is excited for the future: “If star formation is really occurring in most galactic outflows, as some theories predict, then this would provide a completely new scenario for our understanding of galaxy evolution.”


On August 10th at 12 AM CET, Lions Ground will pay attention to this observation with a simplified explanation LIVE at Youtube.

Heathcliff Spencer Peters is an impartial and independent investigative journalist whose stories have appeared in The Sun, Express, Dailymail, nationwide Italian and Spanish television, and over 10 countries.