Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA’s Chandra Finds Evidence for Quasar Ignition

27.03.2006


New data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory may provide clues to how quasars "turn on." Since the discovery of quasars over 40 years ago, astronomers have been trying to understand the conditions surrounding the birth of these immensely powerful objects.


Chandra X-ray Image of 4C37.43


Hubble Optical Image of 4C37.43



Hot, X-ray producing regions around two distant quasars observed by Chandra are thought to have formed during their activation. These features are located tens of thousands of light years from the central supermassive black holes thought to power the quasars.

"The X-ray features are likely shock waves that could be a direct result of the turning on of the quasar about 4 billion years ago," said Alan Stockton of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, and lead author of a report on this work published recently in The Astrophysical Journal.


The quasars, 4C37.43 and 3C249.1, showed no evidence for the existence of a much larger envelope of hot gas around the features, nor were the observed X-ray regions associated with radio waves from the quasars. These factors rule out possible explanations for the X-ray emitting clouds, such as the cooling of hot intergalactic gas, or heating by high-energy jets from the quasars.

"The best explanation for our observations is that a burst of star formation, or the activation of the quasar itself, is driving an enormous amount of gas away from the quasar’s host galaxy at extremely high speeds," said Hai Fu, a coauthor of the study who is also from the University of Hawaii.

Computer simulations of the formation of stars and the growth of black holes during a collision between two galaxies are consistent with this picture. The simulations, performed by Tiziana Di Matteo of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues, show that the merger of galaxies drives gas toward the central regions where it triggers a burst of star formation and provides fuel for the growth of a central black hole.

The inflow of gas into the black hole releases a tremendous amount of energy, and a quasar is born. The power output of the quasar dwarfs that of the surrounding galaxy and expels gas from the galaxy in what has been termed a galactic superwind. The Chandra data provide the best evidence yet for a quasar-produced superwind.

Over a period of about 100 million years, the superwind will drive all the gas away from the central regions of the galaxy, quenching both star formation and further black hole growth. The quasar phase will end and the galaxy will settle down to a relatively quiet life. The tranquility of the galaxy will be interrupted from time to time as a small satellite galaxy is captured and provides food for the otherwise dormant supermassive black hole.

Other members of the research team were J. Patrick Henry, also of the University of Hawaii, and Gabriela Canalizo of the University of California, Riverside. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory provides science support and controls flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.

Megan Watzke | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://chandra.harvard.edu
http://chandra.nasa.gov
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht New functional principle to generate the „third harmonic“
16.02.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>