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Recurrent explosions in the nuclei of galaxies

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Abstract

High-velocity ejection of gas from the central region of galaxies is now an observationally established phenomenon. Such ejections have been attributed to some kind of activities in the nuclei of galaxies. It has been suggested that conditions leading to explosive events periodically prevail in the centre of galaxies causing recurrent explosions and driving the gas thereby outward with sufficiently high velocities. The magnitude of the ejection velocity and the amount of gas driven out will actually depend on the intensity of the activity at the centre.

Remnants of recurrent activity have been discovered in the inner region of our Galaxy. The ‘3-kpc’ arm, the 2.4 kpc arm, the molecular ring at 270 pc and some other features are believed to have been caused by periodic activity at the centre of our Galaxy.

We have outlined a model that can explain the recurrent explosions in the centre of a galaxy. The boundary of the nucleus of the Galaxy is considered here as a stationary shock front where high velocity gas coming from the outer regions impinges and gets heated and condensed. This condensed, hot gas then flows inwards by intense gravitational pull, but in course of its passage inward it loses its velocity due to radiation pressure and frictional retardation. A layer of dense, hot gas is therefore formed some distance (typically 0.001 pc) away from the centre where short radio and microwaves are trapped. As the density of gas in this layer is enhanced by the inflowing gas, shorter-wave radiation is trapped. The pressure of radiation therefore gradually builds up in the layer which ultimately overcomes the gravitational pull and the layer is blown off violently. The whole process may be completed over and over again at intervals of 106–107 yr.

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Basu, B., Bhattacharyya, T. Recurrent explosions in the nuclei of galaxies. Astrophys Space Sci 96, 405–416 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00651684

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Keywords

  • Explosive
  • High Velocity
  • Shock Front
  • Outer Region
  • Periodic Activity