Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

Press and Multimedia

Massive Black Holes halt star birth in distant galaxies

May. 9, 2012

The Herschel Space Observatory has shown that galaxies with the most powerful, active, supermassive black holes at their cores produce fewer stars than galaxies with less active black holes.

Supermassive black holes are believed to reside in the hearts of all large galaxies. When gas falls upon these monsters, the materials are accelerated and heated around the black hole, releasing great torrents of energy. In the process, active black holes oftentimes generate colossal jets that blast out twin streams of heated matter.

Inflows of gas into a galaxy also fuel the formation of new stars. In a new study of distant galaxies, Herschel helped show that star formation and black hole activity increase together, but only up to a point. Astronomers think that if an active black hole flares up too much, it starts spewing radiation that prevents raw material from coalescing into new stars. (See Full HerMES Press Release)

Press Release:

Nature Publication:


Dr Ismael Pérez Fournon
Co-Investigator SPIRE and HerMES
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
Email: ipf [@]
Tel: +34 922 605 257

Dr Mat Page
Mullard Space Science Laboratory
University College London
Email: mjp [@]
Tel: +44 (0)1483 204283

Prof Seb Oliver
HerMES coordinator
University of Sussex
Email: S.Oliver [@]
Tel: +44 (0)1273 678852 +44 (0)1273

Prof Matt Griffin
SPIRE Principal Investigator
Cardiff University
Email:  matt.griffin [@]
Tel:  +44 (0)29 2087 4203

Madeleine Russell
Press Officer
UK Space Agency
Email: madeleine.russell [@]
Tel: +44 (0)1793 418069

Complet list of press releases | More press releases of year 2012

We use our own cookies and cookies from a third party to gather statistical information to improve our services and our website. If you continue with the navigation, you are accepting the installation and use of these cookies. You can change the configuration of your browser not to accept the installation or you can obtain more information in our Cookie Policy.