Red Geysers

Press/Media: Relating to Research


Press release issued by Sloan Digital Sky Survey and University of St Andrews, describing discovery of new class of galaxies by MaNGA survey. This discovery was published in Nature, and I am a co-author.

Galaxies that contain enough gas should be forming stars. However, we do observe galaxies that even though they have sufficient amounts of gas, they do not for new stars and are instead quiescent, giving them a red colour. A big question in astronomy is what prevents these galaxies from forming stars.

With the MaNGA spectroscopic galaxy survey, we discovered a new class of galaxies that we called 'Red Geysers'. These galaxies are quiescent (hence their red colour), but do contain gas. However, we show that the low-activity supermassive black hole in the centre of these galaxies heats up the gas in outflows, and prevents it from cooling and forming stars. This discovery of galactic warming therefore provides us with a mechanism to explain why these galaxies are not turning their gas into stars, and remain quiescent.

Space Scoop version of press release (aimed at young children).
Period30 May 2016

Media coverage


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