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Chandra, radio and optical image of M84
Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/MPE/A.Finoguenov et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/ESO/R.A.Laing et al); Optical (SDSS)


Bursting Bubbles

Sometimes breaking a bubble can be a good thing. In the case of M84, a giant elliptical galaxy, a supermassive black hole buried deep inside generates hot particles which inflate bubbles in the galaxy's interstellar medium, expanding outward into intergalactic space. The image above shows a composite X-ray (blue) image from the Chandra Observatory, a radio image (red) from the Very Large Array and an optical image from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in yellow and white. The radio emission appears to be composed of 2 jets coming from the giant black hole in M84; the hot, X-ray emitting plasma forms the walls of bubbles which are blown up by the radio-emitting jet. In the bottom half of the image, the radio emission is clearly surrounded by the X-ray gas; however in the top of the image, the radio emitting material has broken out of the confines of the X-ray emitting gas and escapes into the IGM. This can help distribute material cooked up in the galaxy to the rest of the Universe. Detailed analysis of the X-ray emitting material show it to be distributed in concentric density perturbations: "bubbles within bubbles".
Published: December 08, 2008


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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:29 EDT