Chandra image of 4c37.43
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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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 26, 2006