Does quasar radiation inhibit star formation?

Scientists have studied ionizing radiation, a band of which is observed near the quasar closest to us. They did not come to a final conclusion whether active galactic nuclei thus inhibit star formation.

Quasar radiation in the artist’s image

Closest quasar to us

Scientists have studied the quasar 3C 273 closest to us. It is an active galactic core — a supermassive black hole that actively absorbs matter and emits electromagnetic waves. The distance to this object is 2.4 billion light-years.

Like all quasars, 3C 273 is located in the center of the galaxy. But its radiation does not allow us to see this star system in detail. Japanese scientists working with the ALMA South American array of radio telescopes decided to use a new technique for observations, which they called “self-calibration”.

The technique consists in the fact that scientists constantly calibrate the perception of the signal in accordance with its curvature by the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the contrast of the resulting image increases. A team of astronomers managed to observe a quasar at frequencies of 93, 233 and 343 GHz.

Scientists were able to see a narrow band of ionizing radiation stretching from the quasar across the galaxy. It is estimated that its source is ionized gas, the mass of which is measured in tens and hundreds of millions of solar masses. 

Does quasar radiation inhibit star formation

The data obtained caused some uncertainty among scientists. The fact is that recently there is more and more evidence that quasars slow down star formation in their galaxies. And this happens precisely because of the ionization of the environment. Gas clouds in this state simply cannot form stars.

The huge mass of gas around 3C 273 seems to confirm this assumption. But at the same time, astronomers managed to properly examine the galaxy, in which it is located. And it looks like new stars continue to form in it.

There can be two plausible explanations for such a situation. The first is that the connection between hydrogen ionization and star formation is not as strong as it was thought. The second version says that we see 3C 273 and its galaxy in that short period of time when ionization has not yet had time to stop the formation of luminaries.

According to

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