Finally Unveiled! The Growth Mechanism of Supermassive Black Holes and the Material Circulation in the Galactic Center



An international research team led by Professor Keiichi Wada in our center and Assistant Professor Takuma Izumi of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has used the ALMA telescope to observe the Circinus galaxy in the nearby universe at an extremely high resolution of about 1 light-year. They observed the flow of all gas phases – plasma, atoms, and molecules – around a supermassive black hole with a mass 2 million times that of the Sun. As a result, they captured for the first time in the world the existence of an accretion flow towards the supermassive black hole. Furthermore, it was discovered that most of the accretion flow is not used for the growth of the black hole but is ejected from the vicinity of the black hole and then returns to the gas disk, becoming an accretion flow to the black hole again, indicating a circulator-like cycle of matter. This greatly advances the understanding of the long-mysterious growth mechanism of supermassive black holes. These observational results have been published in “Science” on November 2, 2023, under the title Izumi et al. “Supermassive black hole feeding and feedback observed on sub-parsec scales” (DOI: 10.1126/science.adf0569 external link).


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