In this latest study, the researchers discovered that black holes located at the cores of galaxies launch fountains of charged particles, which can stir up gas throughout the galaxy and temporarily interrupt star formation. Unless something intervenes, the gas will eventually cool and start forming stars again.
The astronomers found that supernovas might act as the maid service of the universe by sweeping the gas, thus shutting off star formation.
"Our previous research had shown that black-hole outbursts can limit star formation in massive galaxies, but they can't completely shut it off," said Mark Voit, one of the researcher.
"Something else needs to keep sweeping out the gas that dying stars continually dump into a galaxy, and supernova sweeping appears to work perfectly for that," Voit pointed out.
The findings may help astronomers to understand why some massive galaxies stopped forming stars billions of years ago.