When we think of black holes, many of us tend to think of them as massive death machines that suck anything and everything out of the sky around them, never to be seen again.
Not even light can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole, making them impossible to observe directly. But could these collapsed stars actually create things? Could the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way be directly responsible for creating many of the stars that light up the night sky? New research suggests that it's not only possible, but likely.
are normally found at the center of galaxies, with plenty of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies nearby. But recently, astronomers came across one that breaks that rule, sitting out there by itself without anything else surrounding it. And it's incredibly active, sucking up gas and emitting a huge jet of materials that crash into dust and gas in a nearby galaxy to form new stars.
That galaxy is building new stars at an accelerated rate, suggesting that the black hole is likely playing a part in the star creation process.
This isn't the first time it's been suggested that supermassive black holes play a role in creating stars. A 2009 study in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics posited that quasars (which are believed to contain black holes) played a role in star formation and a 2012 study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society examined the role black holes played in creating new stars.
If these theories are true, the supermassive black holes at the center of the Milky Way could be responsible for some or all of the stars we see in the sky, including our sun.