Credit: NASA/CXC/UCI/A. NASA/CXC/IoA/A.Fabian et al.
Black holes make enormous pebbles. The "Gorgon's Head", a cluster of galaxies whose X-ray emission makes an eerie, grinning head, is living proof. Somehow, a few billion years ago, an outburst from the supermassive black hole at the center of this cluster dropped an enormous amount of energy into the cluster. The ripples are still reverberating outwards, just like waves in a pond disturbed by a pebble. As they move outward, these waves compress material in the cluster to extremely high temperatures, producing X-rays. These X-rays have recently been imaged by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The image above left is a "true color" image in which color represents X-ray energy (red low, blue high energy). The image on the right highlights the X-ray ripples.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:30 EDT