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Nature. 2009 Jul 9;460(7252):213-9. doi: 10.1038/nature08135.

The role of black holes in galaxy formation and evolution.

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  • 1Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany. acattaneo@aip.de

Abstract

Virtually all massive galaxies, including our own, host central black holes ranging in mass from millions to billions of solar masses. The growth of these black holes releases vast amounts of energy that powers quasars and other weaker active galactic nuclei. A tiny fraction of this energy, if absorbed by the host galaxy, could halt star formation by heating and ejecting ambient gas. A central question in galaxy evolution is the degree to which this process has caused the decline of star formation in large elliptical galaxies, which typically have little cold gas and few young stars, unlike spiral galaxies.

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