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?
- New President - Pivot To Moon On Way To Mars? Lunar Spelunking & Science Surprises
- BPA-Free, With Regrets
- A Dimuon Particle At 30 GeV In ALEPH ??
- A Racist On The Jews: Let The Donald Trump!
- Debunking: A President Of The US Could Order A Nuclear Attack At A Moments Notice On A Whim
- Who Is Trying To Destroy The Internet?
- President Obama, Why Humans On Mars Right Now Are Bad For Science
- "That's normal. The people who contact me about this often feel scared for a fair while after they..."
- "So why is it then that i feel so so scared and actually think that these people might actually..."
- "Hi Zack, yes it's not real. When they say it goes back to 1983, they are talking about the ideas..."
- "Hey there there sir you have probably had this one already whats the story with nibiru planet x..."
- "Yes did a post about this on my debunking doomsday blogDEBUNKING DOOMSDAYDebunked: NASA says that..."
- SIDS Recommendations Evolving Beyond 'Back to Sleep'
- SIDS recommendations are evolving beyond 'Back to Sleep'
- Two Women at Johns Hopkins Are Reinventing How Antibiotics Are Used
- Necrotizing Fasciitis: Calm Down, You (Probably) Won't Die from Flesh-Eating Vibrio vulnificus
- Have Pain? Pick Your Poison
- Genetic/Genomic Tests Inform Breast Cancer Treatment Decisions