17
Apr 16

Giant black hole found in an unlikely place

Source: ESA/Hubble Science Release heic1607

ann16007aThe elliptical galaxy NGC 1600, 200 million light-years away.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Digital Sky Survey 2

Astronomers have uncovered one of the biggest supermassive black holes, with the mass of 17 billion Suns, in an unlikely place: the centre of a galaxy that lies in a quiet backwater of the Universe. The observations, made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought. The results of this study are released in the journal Nature. (learn more)

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18
Feb 16

Glow from the Big Bang Allows Discovery of Distant Black Hole Jet

Source: Chandra Press

Chandra-b30727_525Jet from a very distant black hole, called B3 0727+409, found using the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Image credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/ISAS/A.Simionescu et al, Optical: DSS

 

Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the Universe. This discovery shows that black holes with powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years after the Big Bang.

The light detected from this jet was emitted when the Universe was only 2.7 billion years old, a fifth of its present age. At this point, the intensity of the cosmic microwave background radiation, or CMB, left over from the Big Bang was much greater than it is today.(read more)

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2
Feb 16

Pictor A: Blast from Black Hole in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Source: Chandra

pictora_annotated_525Jets at Pictor A
Image credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Hertfordshire/M.Hardcastle et al., Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA

The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious "Death Star," which can shoot powerful beams of radiation across space. The Universe, however, produces phenomena that often surpass what science fiction can conjure.

The Pictor A galaxy is one such impressive object. This galaxy, located nearly 500 million light years from Earth, contains a supermassive black hole at its center. A huge amount of gravitational energy is released as material swirls towards the event horizon, the point of no return for infalling material. This energy produces an enormous beam, or jet, of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light into intergalactic space. (read more)

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26
Sep 15

Sagittarius A*: Milky Way's Black Hole Shows Signs of Increased Chatter

Source: Chandra Space Telescope

sgra2_525Image credits:NASA/CXC/MPE/G.Ponti et al; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.

Three orbiting X-ray telescopes have been monitoring the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy for the last decade and a half to observe its behavior, as explained in our latest press release. This long monitoring campaign has revealed some new changes in the patterns of this 4-million-solar-mass black hole known as Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*).(read more)

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20
Apr 15

ALMA Reveals Intense Magnetic Field Close to Supermassive Black Hole

Source: ESO Science Release eso1515

eso1515aArtist’s impression of a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy.
Image credits: ESO/L. Calçada

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has revealed an extremely powerful magnetic field, beyond anything previously detected in the core of a galaxy, very close to the event horizon of a supermassive black hole. This new observation helps astronomers to understand the structure and formation of these massive inhabitants of the centres of galaxies, and the twin high-speed jets of plasma they frequently eject from their poles. The results appear in the 17 April 2015 issue of the journal Science. (learn more)

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3
Jan 15

XMM-Newton spots monster black hole hidden in tiny galaxy

Source: ESA/XMM-Newton

XMM-Newton_J1329+3234_2-10keV_bar_275X-ray emission from dwarf galaxy J1329+3234.
Image credit: ESA/XMM-Newton/N. Secrest, et al. (2015)

First impressions can be deceptive – astronomers have used ESA's X-ray satellite XMM-Newton to find a massive black hole hungrily feeding within a tiny dwarf galaxy, despite there being no hint of this black hole from optical observations.(learn more)

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27
Dec 13

Birth of black hole kills the radio star

Source: Space Daily

art-dark-gamma-ray-burst-lg

Perth, Australia (SPX) Dec 27, 2013 - Astronomers led by a Curtin University researcher have discovered a new population of exploding stars that "switch off" their radio transmissions before collapsing into a Black Hole. These exploding stars use all of their energy to emit one last strong beam of highly energetic radiation - known as a gamma-ray burst - before they die.(learn more)

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7
May 13

Herschel finds hot gas on the menu for Milky Way’s black hole

Credit: ESA/Herschel

Galactic_centre_large

ESA’s Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot molecular gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.(read more)

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5
May 13

Cosmic Flashes May Signal Birth of Black Holes

Source: The Daily Galaxy

BlackHole

When a massive star exhausts its fuel, it collapses under its own gravity and produces a black hole, an object so dense that not even light can escape its gravitational grip. According to a new analysis by an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), just before the black hole forms, the dying star may generate a distinct burst of light that will allow astronomers to witness the birth of a new black hole for the first time. (read more)

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27
Oct 12

Monster galaxy may have been stirred up by black-hole mischief

Source: ESA/Hubble heic1216


Monster galaxy lacks a bright core.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, M. Postman (Space Telescope Science Institute, USA),
T. Lauer (National Optical Astronomy Observatory, USA), and the CLASH team.

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have obtained a remarkable new view of a whopper of an elliptical galaxy, with a core bigger than any seen before. There are two intriguing explanations for the puffed up core, both related to the action of one or more black holes, and the researchers have not yet been able to determine which is correct. (read more)

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7
Oct 12

Swift Satellite Discovers A New Black Hole In Our Galaxy

Source: NASA/SWIFT

Video Source: YouTube

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4
Sep 12

WISE Survey Uncovers Millions of Black Holes

Source: NASA WISE


WISE has identified millions of quasar candidates.
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has led to a bonanza of newfound supermassive black holes and extreme galaxies called hot DOGs, or dust-obscured galaxies.

Images from the telescope have revealed millions of dusty black hole candidates across the universe and about 1,000 even dustier objects thought to be among the brightest galaxies ever found. These powerful galaxies, which burn brightly with infrared light, are nicknamed hot DOGs.(read more)

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14
Jun 12

Black Hole Growth Found To Be Out Of Sync

Source: Chandra


Galaxies NGC 4342 and NGC 4291.
Image credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/A.Bogdan et al;
Infrared: 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/ NASA/NSF.

New evidence from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory challenges prevailing ideas about how black holes grow in the centers of galaxies. Astronomers long have thought that a supermassive black hole and the bulge of stars at the center of its host galaxy grow at the same rate -- the bigger the bulge, the bigger the black hole. However, a new study of Chandra data has revealed two nearby galaxies with supermassive black holes that are growing faster than the galaxies themselves.(read more)

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24
Feb 12

Chandra finds fastest wind from stellar-mass black hole

Source: NASA Chandra


Artist impression of stellar-mass black hole IGR J17091.
Image credits: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss.

Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have clocked the fastest wind yet discovered blowing off a disk around a stellar-mass black hole. This result has important implications for understanding how this type of black hole behaves.

The record-breaking wind is moving about 20 million mph, or about 3 percent of the speed of light. This is nearly 10 times faster than had ever been seen from a stellar-mass black hole.

Stellar-mass black holes are born when extremely massive stars collapse. They typically weigh between five and 10 times the mass of the sun. The stellar-mass black hole powering this super wind is known as IGR J17091-3624, or IGR J17091 for short. (read more)

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17
Feb 12

Hubble finds relic of a shredded galaxy

Source: ESA/Hubble Science Release heic1203


Star cluster surrounds wayward black hole in cannibal galaxy ESO 243-49.
Image credits: NASA, ESA, and S. Farrell (University of Sydney, Australia and University of Leicester, UK).

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have found a cluster of young blue stars surrounding a mid-sized black hole called HLX-1. The discovery suggests that the black hole formed in the core of a now-disintegrated dwarf galaxy. The findings have important implications for understanding the evolution of supermassive black holes and galaxies. (read more)

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9
Feb 12

Chandra Finds Milky Way's Black Hole Grazing on Asteroids

Source: NASA Chandra


Supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.
Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/F. Baganoff et al.; Illustrations: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

The giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may be vaporizing and devouring asteroids, which could explain the frequent flares observed, according to astronomers using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For several years Chandra has detected X-ray flares about once a day from the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*, or "Sgr A*" for short. The flares last a few hours with brightness ranging from a few times to nearly one hundred times that of the black hole's regular output. The flares also have been seen in infrared data from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile. (read more)

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15
Dec 11

RXTE detects 'Heartbeat' of smallest Black Hole candidate

Source: NASA

Artist's impression of a black hole's jets. Credit: NASA.

n international team of astronomers has identified a candidate for the smallest-known black hole using data from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE). The evidence comes from a specific type of X-ray pattern, nicknamed a "heartbeat" because of its resemblance to an electrocardiogram. The pattern until now has been recorded in only one other black hole system.

Named IGR J17091-3624 after the astronomical coordinates of its sky position, the binary system combines a normal star with a black hole that may weigh less than three times the sun's mass. That is near the theoretical mass boundary where black holes become possible.

Gas from the normal star streams toward the black hole and forms a disk around it. Friction within the disk heats the gas to millions of degrees, which is hot enough to emit X-rays. Cyclical variations in the intensity of the X-rays observed reflect processes taking place within the gas disk. Scientists think that the most rapid changes occur near the black hole's event horizon, the point beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

Astronomers first became aware of the binary system during an outburst in 2003. Archival data from various space missions show it becomes active every few years. Its most recent outburst started in February and is ongoing. The system is located in the direction of the constellation Scorpius, but its distance is not well established. It could be as close as 16,000 light-years or more than 65,000 light-years away.

The record-holder for wide-ranging X-ray variability is another black hole binary system named GRS 1915+105. This system is unique in displaying more than a dozen highly structured patterns, typically lasting between seconds and hours.(read more)

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14
Dec 11

VLT spots cloud being disrupted by black hole

Source: ESO Science Release eso1151


Simulation of the cloud being disrupted by a black hole.
Image credits: ESO/MPE/Marc Schartmann.

Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have discovered a gas cloud with several times the mass of the Earth accelerating fast towards the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. This is the first time ever that the approach of such a doomed cloud to a supermassive black hole has been observed. The results will be published in the 5 January 2012 issue of the journal Nature.(read more)

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20
Nov 11

Cygnus X-1: Chandra Adds to Black Hole Birth Announcement

Source: Chandra


Credit: Optical: DSS; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

On the left, an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey shows Cygnus X-1, outlined in a red box. Cygnus X-1 is located near large active regions of star formation in the Milky Way, as seen in this image that spans some 700 light years across. An artist's illustration on the right depicts what astronomers think is happening within the Cygnus X-1 system. Cygnus X-1 is a so-called stellar-mass black hole, a class of black holes that comes from the collapse of a massive star. The black hole pulls material from a massive, blue companion star toward it. This material forms a disk (shown in red and orange) that rotates around the black hole before falling into it or being redirected away from the black hole in the form of powerful jets. (read source)

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7
Nov 11

Hubble Directly Observes the Disc Around a Black Hole

Source: ESA/Hubble Science Release heic1116


Image credits:NASA, ESA and J.A. Muñoz (University of Valencia)

A team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe a quasar accretion disc — a brightly glowing disc of matter that is slowly being sucked into its galaxy’s central black hole. Their study makes use of a novel technique that uses gravitational lensing to give an immense boost to the power of the telescope. The incredible precision of the method has allowed astronomers to directly measure the disc’s size and plot the temperature across different parts of the disc.(read more)

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