The quiescent intracluster medium in the core of the Perseus cluster

Journal: Nature

Published: 2016-07-07

DOI: 10.1038/nature18627

Affiliations: 72

Authors: 215

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Research Highlight

A calm oasis in a galaxy cluster far, far away

© Stocktrek Images/Getty

© Stocktrek Images/Getty

Supermassive black holes could be controlling galaxy growth by overheating intergalactic gas.

Black holes in the centre of galaxy groups spew out vast amounts of energy thought to shake up gas within the cluster, creating turbulence that makes it tricky to calculate the cluster’s total mass. The Hitomi collaboration, including researchers from Kanazawa University, launched a satellite to measure gas motion in the gigantic Perseus cluster, 240 million light years away.

Before a technical error condemned the spacecraft, it sent back vivid X-ray images of Perseus. The space between the galaxies at its core appeared surprisingly calm, suggesting that measurements of galaxy cluster mass do not need to be corrected for turbulence after all.

The images also revealed that energy from the black hole was heating the gas to 10 to 100 million degrees Celsius. Stars can only form when the gas is cool enough to slow down and clump together, so the black hole is effectively controlling galaxy growth, the authors say.

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  1. Nature 535,117–121 (2016). doi: 10.1038/nature18627
Institutions Share
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), JAXA, Japan 0.15
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), United States of America (USA) 0.11
Nagoya University, Japan 0.06
SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, NWO-I, Netherlands 0.04
Kyoto University, Japan 0.03
Hiroshima University (HU), Japan 0.03
Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU), Japan 0.03
Osaka University, Japan 0.03
Rikkyo University, Japan 0.02
RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science (RNC), Japan 0.02
Astrophysics, Instrumentation and Modelling (AIM), France 0.02
University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), United States of America (USA) 0.02
University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland 0.02
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK) 0.02
Stanford Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), United States of America (USA) 0.02
University of Miyazaki, Japan 0.01
Tokyo University of Science (TUS), Japan 0.01
Kanazawa University (KU), Japan 0.01
Yale University, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Japan 0.01
Chuo University, Japan 0.01
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), United States of America (USA) 0.01
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States of America (USA) 0.01
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), United States of America (USA) 0.01
European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), ESA, Spain 0.01
Stanford University, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Saint Mary's University (SMU), Canada 0.01
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), United States of America (USA) 0.01
The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), Japan 0.01
University of Miami (UM), United States of America (USA) 0.01
University of Michigan (U-M), United States of America (USA) 0.01
Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan 0.01
Ehime University, Japan 0.01
RIKEN, Japan 0.01
European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), ESA, Netherlands 0.01
Saitama University, Japan 0.01
Nara Women's University (NWU), Japan 0.01
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS), Ireland 0.01
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, United States of America (USA) 0.01
Waseda University, Japan 0
Yamagata University, Japan 0
Nihon Fukushi University, Japan 0
Shizuoka University, Japan 0
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), Japan 0
Jagiellonian University (UJ), Poland 0
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), United States of America (USA) 0
University of Manitoba, Canada 0
Columbia University in the City of New York (CU), United States of America (USA) 0
Durham University, United Kingdom (UK) 0
University of Southampton (Soton), United Kingdom (UK) 0
Nara University of Education, Japan 0
Tohoku Gakuin University, Japan 0
Kyushu University, Japan 0
Aichi University of Education, Japan 0
University of Waterloo, Canada 0
University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison), United States of America (USA) 0
Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan 0
Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), United States of America (USA) 0
Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT), Japan 0
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (RU), United States of America (USA) 0
Toho University, Japan 0
Kobe University, Japan 0
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan 0
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Russia 0
Universities Space Research Association (USRA), United States of America (USA) 0
Johns Hopkins University (JHU), United States of America (USA) 0

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