Credit: NASA/CXC/Columbia/C. Scharf et al.
All You Can't Eat
In galaxy clusters, it's a dog-eat-dog universe. Frequent (by cosmic standards) collisions and interactions between neighboring galaxies can result in less massive galaxies being gobbled up by more massive member galaxies. Supermassive black holes in the more massive galaxies get fed by this material, and grow in size and mass. Eventually though super-powerful jets are emitted by the black hole, stopping the infall of material and limiting the growth of the gobbling galaxy. New X-ray images are helping astronomers to detail this process. The image above shows two views of an active galaxy called 4C41.17 - on the left is an optical image of the galaxy, and on the right is an X-ray image obtained by the Chandra X-ray observatory. The Chandra image shows the hot x-ray emitting jet from the supermassive black hole at the center of this galaxy.
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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:11:20 EDT