Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chandra catches 'piranha' black holes

25.07.2007
Supermassive black holes have been discovered to grow more rapidly in young galaxy clusters, according to new results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. These "fast-track" supermassive black holes can have a big influence on the galaxies and clusters that they live in.

Using Chandra, scientists surveyed a sample of clusters and counted the fraction of galaxies with rapidly growing supermassive black holes, known as active galactic nuclei (or AGN). The data show, for the first time, that younger, more distant galaxy clusters contained far more AGN than older, nearby ones.

Galaxy clusters are some of the largest structures in the Universe, consisting of many individual galaxies, a few of which contain AGN. Earlier in the history of the universe, these galaxies contained a lot more gas for star formation and black hole growth than galaxies in clusters do today. This fuel allows the young cluster black holes to grow much more rapidly than their counterparts in nearby clusters.

"The black holes in these early clusters are like piranha in a very well-fed aquarium," said Jason Eastman of Ohio State University (OSU) and first author of this study. "It's not that they beat out each other for food, rather there was so much that all of the piranha were able to really thrive and grow quickly."

The team used Chandra to determine the fraction of AGN in four different galaxy clusters at large distances, when the Universe was about 58% of its current age. Then they compared this value to the fraction found in more nearby clusters, those about 82% of the Universe's current age.

The result was the more distant clusters contained about 20 times more AGN than the less distant sample. AGN outside clusters are also more common when the Universe is younger, but only by factors of two or three over the same age span.

"It's been predicted that there would be fast-track black holes in clusters, but we never had good evidence until now," said co-author Paul Martini, also of OSU. "This can help solve a couple of mysteries about galaxy clusters."

One mystery is why there are so many blue, star-forming galaxies in young, distant clusters and fewer in nearby, older clusters. AGN are believed to expel or destroy cool gas in their host galaxy through powerful eruptions from the black hole. This may stifle star formation and the blue, massive stars will then gradually die off, leaving behind only the old, redder stars. This process takes about a billion years or more to take place, so a dearth of star-forming galaxies is only noticeable for older clusters.

The process that sets the temperature of the hot gas in clusters when they form is also an open question. These new results suggest that even more AGN may have been present when most clusters were forming about ten billion years ago. Early heating of a cluster by large numbers of AGN can have a significant, long-lasting effect on the structure of a cluster by "puffing up" the gas.

"In a few nearby clusters we've seen evidence for huge eruptions generated by supermassive black holes. But this is sedate compared to what might be going on in younger clusters," said Eastman.

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

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht European particle-accelerator community publishes the first industry compendium
26.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

nachricht Subnano lead particles show peculiar decay behavior
26.04.2018 | Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

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: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

European particle-accelerator community publishes the first industry compendium

26.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

Why we need erasable MRI scans

26.04.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>