Deep Field South
Credit: NASA/JHU/AUI/R.Giacconi et al.

Black Holes in the Deep Field

An extraordinary 10-day observation with the world's most powerful X-ray telescope has shown that the universe is filled with million solar mass blackholes, and that black holes (like people) are more active when young. The picture above is the "Chandra Deep Field (South)", a 1 million second deep pointing at a single spot in the sky. The image above shows some of the faintest X-ray sources ever detected - the faintest sources emitted only 1 detectable X-ray per day! In the words of Dr. Riccardo Giacconi, the principle investigator of this observation, "The Chandra data show us that giant black holes were much more active in the past than at present. In this million-second image, we also detect relatively faint X-ray emission from galaxies, groups, and clusters of galaxies". This image helps astronomers determine how black holes in the early universe swallow matter and add energy into their surroundings, and provides clues as to how galaxies formed.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified March 24, 2001