Black Hole Ignites Star Formation

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Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Video imagery:

  • Dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI); image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)
  • Dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10, with detail pullout: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI); image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review:  Dr. Brandon Lawton
Education review: Jim Manning
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Nebulas with purple, red, blue, pink, orange, yellow and brown gases, Gas giants, Star clusters in clouds of stellar material, Spiral galaxies.
An irregularly shaped galaxy with a bright yellow core and pink, blue and brown gases with bright star clusters throughout.
Text, A black hole at the heart of the dwarf galaxy Henize 2 10 is creating stars rather than gobbling them up. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope identified an outflow of gas stretching from the black hole region to a stellar nursery 230 light-years away.
An image magnifies the center of the galaxy and shows a bright yellow dot labeled Massive Black Hole with yellow, orange, and red gaseous outflow. To one side is a large cluster of yellow labeled Triggered Star Formation.
Text, Hubble shows that the outflow slammed into the dense cloud of the stellar nursery and spread out, its path now dotted by young star clusters.
In larger galaxies, powerful jets from supermassive black holes are known to suppress, rather than foster, new star formation.
Dwarf galaxies like this could hold important clues to how supermassive black holes grew and behaved in the early universe, before the formation of more massive galaxies like our Milky Way.
This news was brought to you in part by the SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND.