Black holes are shaping the future of our galaxy

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SCIENTISTS in Yorkshire have shed new light on the future of our galaxy which is set to collide with Andromeda in five billion years.

The research by Sheffield University centres on the role super massive black holes in the evolution of galaxies such as the Milky Way.

Supermassive black holes in the cores of galaxies drive massive outflows of molecular hydrogen gas. As a result, most of the cold gas is expelled from the galaxies. Academics say that since cold gas is required to form new stars, this directly affects how galaxies evolve.

A study led by researchers in Sheffield University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has provided the first direct evidence that the molecular outflows are accelerated by energetic jets of electrons that are moving at close to the speed of light. The results of the study have been published in the journal Nature.

The university has also announced new findings about the way rats use their whiskers.

Scientists have known for a long time that movement of the whiskers provides these animals with a sense of touch that allows them to move around easily in the dark. However, until now they did not know to what extent animals were able to deliberately control their whisker movement.

By putting unexpected obstacles in their way and removing visual cues, a team discovered strong evidence the creatures moved their whiskers in a purposeful way to safely navigate the course.