Washington, Jan. 24 ANI | 6 months ago

Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and a suite of other telescopes have found one of the most powerful black holes known.


The black hole is in a galaxy cluster named RX J1532.9+3021 (RX J1532 for short), located about 3.9 billion light-years from Earth.

The cluster is very bright in X-rays implying that it is extremely massive, with a mass about a quadrillion -- a thousand trillion -- times that of the Sun. At the center of the cluster is a large elliptical galaxy containing the supermassive black hole.

The large amount of hot gas near the center of the cluster presents a puzzle. Hot gas glowing with X-rays should cool, and the dense gas in the center of the cluster should cool the fastest.

The X-ray image shows two large cavities in the hot gas on either side of the central galaxy. The Chandra image has been specially processed to emphasize the cavities.

Both cavities are aligned with jets seen in radio images from the VLA. The location of the supermassive black hole between the cavities is strong evidence that the supersonic jets generated by the black hole have drilled into the hot gas and pushed it aside, forming the cavities.

The cavities are each about 100,000 light-years across, roughly equal to the width of the Milky Way galaxy. The power needed to generate them is among the largest known in galaxy clusters.

(Posted on 25-01-2014)