Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Black holes in distant galaxies point to wild youth, Chandra discovers


Chandra’s image of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4697
NASA/CXC/UVa/C.Sarazin et al.)

Like ’flower power’ tattoos on aging ex-hippy baby boomers, unexpectedly large numbers of neutron stars and black holes in elliptical galaxies suggest some of these galaxies lived through a much wilder youth. The discovery by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory may require a revision of how elliptical galaxies evolved.

"For the first time, Chandra has allowed us to distinguish hundreds of star-like sources that are black holes and neutron stars in distant elliptical galaxies," said Craig Sarazin of the University of Virginia who presented his team’s findings on three elliptical galaxies, known as NGC 4697, NGC 4649, and NGC 1553, today at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Albuquerque, N.M. "The black holes and neutron stars we now see in these elliptical galaxies are reminders of their very active past."

Black holes and neutron stars are the "stellar corpses" of the brightest, most massive and short-lived stars. The presence of numerous neutron stars and black holes shows that these galaxies once contained many very bright, massive stars. This is in marked contrast to the present populations of lower-mass, faint, old stars that now dominate elliptical galaxies.

The black holes and neutron stars found by Chandra in these galaxies appear to be members of binary star systems. The strong pull of gravity from the collapsed star pulls material off the normal star. This material emits large amounts of X-rays as it falls into the black hole or neutron star.

The Chandra observations also show that most of the binary star systems that contain black holes are not scattered randomly among the stars in the elliptical galaxies. Instead, most of the X-ray binaries are located in "globular star clusters," round balls of stars, containing about one million stars in a region of the galaxy where typically only one would be found.

The high fraction of black hole binaries found in globular star clusters suggests that the black holes captured a single star or pulled it away from its original companion. Normally, the distances between stars in galaxies are too great for capture to occur, but in the extraordinarily dense environment of globular clusters they may be much more common.

"Chandra has shown us that the birthplace of these exotic black hole binary systems are in the dense globular clusters," said Joel Bregman, a collaborator at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

"Globular clusters appear to be the ’singles bars’ of the stellar world," said Sarazin, "where a lonely black hole can go to find a companion."

Other members of the research team include Elizabeth L. Blanton, Scott W. Randall, and Gregory R. Sivakoff, all of University of Virginia, and Jimmy Irwin of University of Michigan.

The observations were made with Chandra’s Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer, which was built for NASA by Penn State and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. TRW, Inc., Redondo Beach, Calif., is the prime contractor for the spacecraft. The Smithsonian’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science and flight operations from Cambridge.

Steve Roy | EurekAlert
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht 'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region
16.03.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Fraunhofer HHI have developed a novel single-polarization Kramers-Kronig receiver scheme
16.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>