Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chandra provides new view of biggest construction sites in universe

22.05.2003


Images made by NASA’s 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 England’s 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.


The picture that is emerging is of a grand cosmic cycle. A dense region of intergalactic gas cools to form several smaller galaxies, which merge to form a larger galaxy with a super massive black hole. The galaxy and its central black hole continue to grow until the energy generated by jets from the vicinity of the voracious black hole stops the fall of matter into the black hole. Millions of years after the jet activity subsides, matter will resume falling into the black hole and the cycle begins anew.

Both 3C294 and 4C41.17 reside in regions of space containing unusually high numbers of galaxies. The gas and galaxies surrounding these galaxies will eventually collapse to form galaxy clusters, some of the most massive objects in the universe. Although 3C294 and 4C41.17 will grow to gargantuan sizes, through the accumulation of surrounding matter that forms hundreds of billions of stars, their growth does not go unchecked.

"It’s as if nature tries to impose a weight limit on the size of the most massive galaxies," said Caleb Scharf of Columbia University, N.Y., and lead author of a paper on 4C41.17 to be published in The Astrophysical Journal. "The Chandra observations have given us an important clue as to how this occurs. The high energy jets give the super massive black holes an extended reach to regulate the growth of these galaxies," he said.

In 3C294 and 4C41.17, the hot swirling infernos around their super massive black holes have launched magnetized jets of high energy particles first identified by radio telescopes. These jets, which were also detected by Chandra, have swept up clouds of dust and gas and have helped trigger the formation of billions of new stars. The dusty, star-forming clouds of 4C41.17, the most powerful source of infrared radiation ever observed, are embedded in even larger clouds of gas.

Astronomers recently used the Keck Observatory to observe these larger clouds, which have a temperature of 10,000 degree Celsius gas. These clouds are leftover material from the galaxy’s formation and should have cooled rapidly by radiation in the absence of a heat source

"Significantly, the warm gas clouds coincide closely with the largest extent of the X-ray emission," said Michiel Reuland of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif., a coauthor on the 4C41.17 paper and a paper describing Keck Observatory work. "The Chandra results show that high energy particles or radiation can supply the necessary energy to light up these clouds," he said.

Most of the X-rays from 4C41.17 and 3C294 are due to collisions of energetic electrons with the cosmic background of photons produced in the hot early universe. Because these galaxies are far away, their observed radiation originated when the universe was younger and the background was more intense. This effect enhances the X-radiation and helps astronomers to study extremely distant galaxies.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program, and 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, Mass., for the Office of Space Science, NASA Headquarters, Washington.


Steve Roy | NASA
Further information:
http://www1.msfc.nasa.gov/NEWSROOM/news/releases/2003/03-079.html
http://chandra.harvard.edu
http://chandra.nasa.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems
15.07.2020 | ETH Zurich Department of Physics

nachricht Black phosphorus-based van der Waals heterostructures for mid-infrared light-emission applications
13.07.2020 | Light Publishing Center, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics And Physics, Chinese Academy

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: A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

A novel mechanism for electron optics in two-dimensional solid-state systems opens up a route to engineering quantum-optical phenomena in a variety of materials

Electrons can interfere in the same manner as water, acoustical or light waves do. When exploited in solid-state materials, such effects promise novel...

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Concrete learns to pre-stress itself

15.07.2020 | Architecture and Construction

New lithium battery charges faster, reduces risk of device explosions

15.07.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

A new path for electron optics in solid-state systems

15.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>