Images made by NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory have revealed two distant cosmic construction sites buzzing with activity. This discovery shows how super massive black holes control the growth of massive galaxies in the distant universe.
Chandra images of galaxies 4C41.17 and 3C294 (4C41.17: NASA/CXC/Columbia/C. Scharf et al. 3C294: NASA/CXC/IoA/A. Fabian et al.)
X-rays were detected from vast clouds of high-energy particles around the galaxies 3C294 and 4C41.17, which are 10 and 12 billion light years from Earth, respectively. The energetic particles were left over from past explosive events that can be traced through the X-ray and radio jets back to the super massive black holes located in the centers of the galaxies.
"These galaxies are revealing an energetic phase in which a super massive black hole transfers considerable energy into the gas surrounding the galaxies," said Andrew Fabian of Englands Cambridge University, lead author of a paper on 3C294 to appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. "This appears to be crucial in explaining the puzzling properties of present-day galaxies, especially those that group together in large clusters," he said.
Steve Roy | NASA
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