FromQuarkstoQuasars

Astronomy Picture of the Day: 12/29/13 – PKS 0745-19

Jaime TrosperDecember 29th 2013
Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Stanford/Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Stanford/Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA

Located in a galaxy far, far away in the constellation known as Puppis, lies some of the most massive black holes discovered to date. Some of which, weigh any where from ten to four billion solar masses, effectively reaffirming the long held notion that black holes are strange objects indeed, and there is still much that we don’t understand about them.

PKS 0745 is an elliptical galaxy located approximately 1.3 BILLION light-years from Earth, and it is the central galaxy from a cluster of galaxies known as PKS 0745-19. A survey was conducted with eighteen of the supermassive black holes from PKS 0745, including the black hole at PKS 0745’s galactic center. What they found, is that some of these ‘ultramassive’ black holes are over ten times more massive than previously thought. Interestingly, each ‘ultramassive’ black hole currently discovered lurking at the heart of a galaxy contains an abnormally large quantity of hot gas, which produces diffuse x-ray emissions (pictured here in purple). When these black holes munch on stellar material, cavities are created within the surrounding gas, prohibiting the gas from cooling and collapsing to form new stars.

Optical data (yellow) was provided by the Hubble Space Telescope, with X-ray data (purple) coming from the Chandra x-ray observatory. Also used in this composite is radio data from the NSF’s ‘Very Large Array ‘(JVLA) and the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). Infrared data came from the 2 Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS).

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