Since Valentine's Day is approaching, it's a good time to combine X-rays from the NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (pink) and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue) produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) into a new image of a ring - not of jewels - but of black holes. The composite image is of Arp 147, a pair of interacting galaxies located about 430 million light years from Earth.
Arp 147 contains the remnant of a spiral galaxy (right) that collided with the elliptical galaxy on the left. This collision has produced an expanding wave of star formation that shows up as a blue ring containing in abundance of massive young stars. These stars race through their evolution in a few million years or less and explode as supernovas, leaving behind neutron stars and black holes.
A fraction of the neutron stars and black holes will have companion stars, and may become bright X-ray sources as they pull in matter from their companions. The nine X-ray sources scattered around the ring in Arp 147 are so bright that they must be black holes, with masses that are likely ten to twenty times that of the Sun.
The image is 54 arcsec (about 115,000 light years across) and this ring galaxy is in the constellation Cetus. Observation time was 11 hours and 49 minutes. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/S.Rappaport et al, Optical: NASA/STScI
An X-ray source is also detected in the nucleus of the red galaxy on the left and may be powered by a poorly-fed supermassive black hole. This source is not obvious in the composite image but can easily be seen in the X-ray image. Other objects unrelated to Arp 147 are also visible: a foreground star in the lower left of the image and a background quasar as the pink source above and to the left of the red galaxy.
Infrared observations with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and ultraviolet observations with NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) have allowed estimates of the rate of star formation in the ring. These estimates, combined with the use of models for the evolution of binary stars have allowed the authors to conclude that the most intense star formation may have ended some 15 million years ago, in Earth's time frame.
These results were published in the October 1st, 2010 issue of The Astrophysical Journal but February is a fun time to look at the pictures.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Your Probiotic Probably Has Gluten
- Mystery Of Morgellons - Disease Or Delusion - Scientific Hypothesis Of Connection With Lyme Disease
- Mummy Madness In The Anatomical Record - All Open Access
- Highest Energy Collisions ? Not In My Book
- Risk Management Turned Upside Down
- The Case Of The Missing Booze: Brits Drink 12 Million More Bottles Per Week Than Previous Estimates
- Researchers Recovered A Dinosaur Foot From A Bird
- "The Most Luminous Galaxy Has Been Hidden Until Now http://thingumbobesquire.blogspot.com/2015/05/the..."
- "Yes, I think part of it is the difference of the doctor and the patient perspective.DOCTOR'S PERSPECTIVEFrom..."
- "Marcelle, just had a thought, I remember reading that some Morgellons patients were able to get..."
- "Despite bizarre claims that organic food has 'no chemicals' (of course it does, organic fertilizer..."
- "When you make a decision under risk, some possible outcomes can be on the upside, and some on the..."
- Mood instability common to mental health disorders and associated with poor outcomes
- Depression associated with 5-fold increase in mortality risk for heart failure patients
- Anticipating temptation may reduce unethical behavior
- Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits
- Vaccines developed for H5N1, H7N9 avian influenza strains