Credit: NASA/CXC/U.Hawaii/A.Stockton et al.
You Turn Me On I'm a Radio Galaxy
Supermassive black holes lurking at the centers of quasars get turned on,
producing superpowerful jets of gas stretching for millions of light years.
But what turns these things on? Astronomers have hypothesized that it
might be a cosmic hook-up of galaxies, which causes an outburst of star
formation that might trigger the activity of the central nuclear black
hole. Now observations by the Chandra
X-ray Observatory have helped confirm this theory. The image above is
an X-ray image by Chandra of the active galaxy 4C37.43 (the bright source
in the center). Surrounding the galaxy are blobs of X-ray emitting gas
labeled a, b, c and d. These blobs are located tens of thousands of light
years from the central supermassive black hole. Astronomers believe these
X-ray sources are likely due to shock waves in a "superwind" which formed
at a time near the turn-on.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified March 26, 2006