Space is an enormous place, of course. Whether you’ve seen it in movies or have science nerd friends telling you of its immense size, you are probably very aware of the enormity of our vast universe. You may not think the galaxy as a hungry entity willing to swallow up all that’s in its path, but there are black holes and black holes are the monsters of the universe ready to inhale the “food” in front of them or whatever comes across their path.
A Voracious Galaxy
One galaxy is hungrier than most and satisfies its appetite by stealing gas to feed its black hole. You heard that right. This particular galaxy, nominally the W2246-0526 galaxy, steals gas from nearby galaxies like a starving thief going through the neighborhood jacking everyone’s leftovers.
Scientists discovered “bridges of material” streaming from nearby galaxies to feed the enormous black hole that the W2246-0526 galaxy has. This process collects dust and understandably probably upsets the neighboring galaxies (assuming they are capable of feeling irritation).
The Gaping Black Hole Mouth
Why does this happen? Why is one galaxy capable of taking another galaxy’s stardust and all other star matter it can find? The reason being is that W2246-0526 is a supermassive galaxy with an equally huge black hole. It needs all the local star matter it can find to feed this leviathan.
Without so much light, which is most of what it is stealing along with dust and other particle matter, the black hole is dim. It’s creating so much light, namely because it is birthing stars like a queen bee. And as we all know, queen bees need more honey to make more bees. In this case, the black hole needs more light for more stars to feed both the black hole and the gargantuan amount of stars being born.
Checking Space Dust With ALMA
Luckily for us, scientists were able to capture this phenomenon happening and were able to record its effects on a nice graph.
They charted imaging of cold gas moving through space between the galaxies toward W2246-0526 via a fancy machine called Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).
A Useful And Beautiful Graph
They tracked three stable bridges and labeled them C1, C2, and C3 and showed them all on a graph the tracks of dust and starlight coming towards W2246-0526. This essentially helps the scientists keep an eye on the gargantuan galaxy and lets them study it long term so we can identify and catch possible problems.
This will provide many uses, but for now, it also serves to make a very interesting looking graph that displays valuable information.
The Future Of Black Holes
Galaxies are an amazing thing and we are learning more about them every day. In the future, we will know much more with tracking systems like ALMA observing galaxies that are as large and as greedy as W2246-0526.
It is interesting to note that we live in an age where it is not only possible to observe, but we can use the information for our own uses as a human race as well.