Black Hole “Owns” Galaxy!!!

17 12 2007

According to the US space agency NASA a powerful jet of particles from a “supermassive” black hole has been seen blasting a nearby galaxy!!!

Galaxies have been seen colliding before, but it is the first time this form of galactic pownage has been witnessed by astronomers!! :O

The findings are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

They were obtained using Nasa’s space-based Chandra X-ray Observatory, its Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope, as well as the Very Large Array (VLA) and Merlin radio telescopes on the ground.

The event is occurring in ‘a galaxy far far far away’ called 3C321 (astonomers have uncreative naming – *sigh*), which lies 1.4 billion light-years from Earth. It contains two galaxies in orbit around one another which are in the process of merging.  For the simpletons among you that means it occured 1.4 billion years ago!!!! (as the light has taken that time to reach us!).

The effect of the jet on the companion galaxy is likely to be substantial, because the galaxies in 3C321 are extremely close to one another. At only about 20,000 light years apart, these galaxies lie approximately the same distance as the Earth is from the centre of the Milky Way.

It is possible that it would not all be bad news for the galaxy being struck by the jet. The massive influx of energy and radiation from the jet may induce the formation of large numbers of stars and planets once its initial wake of destruction is complete.

“Although we call it a death star galaxy, in the end it might be a source of new life in the more distant galaxy,” said Dr Hardcastle.

Features seen in images from the VLA and Chandra indicate that the jet started hitting the smaller galaxy about one million years ago. This is a blink of the eye in the lifetime of 3C321, which marks it out as an important opportunity to study a rare astronomical phenomenon, say the astronomers.




2 responses

18 12 2007

How does one spot a Black Hole?

20 12 2007

one can not spot a black hole, just the phenomena caused by it or surrounding it.

this is because the black hole swallows the light aswell.

im sure wikipedia has some info on the subject.

alternatively for a nice scifi approach, watch stargate episode 2-16, a favourite of mine 🙂

happy reading/watching.

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