Black holes

The Astro-E2, then renamed Suzaku, satellite during its test phase (Photo NASA)

In recent days, the Japanese Suzaku space observatory has been deactivated. On August 26, 2015, JAXA, the Japanese space agency, communicated the decision to terminate the mission of this satellite specialized in X-ray astronomy. Communications between the mission control center and Suzaku had become intermittent since June 1, 2015 and JAXA, after trying to restore them, decided to start the deactivation procedures.

X-ray view of the Milky Way center (Image ESA/XMM-Newton/G. Ponti et al. 2015)

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a research about the central region of the Milky Way. Using ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory, a team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) led by Dr. Gabriele Ponti revealed the most intense processes going on at the center of the galaxy.

Scheme of the observation of the supermassive black hole PKS 1830-211 through gravitational lensing (Image ESA/ATG medialab)

An article published in the journal “Nature Physics” describes the study conducted on the supermassive black hole known as PKS 1830-211 using observations made with ESA’s Integral and NASA’s Fermi and Swift space telescopes. The peculiarity is that these observations used a gravitational lensing effect created by a galaxy to explore the inner regions of the area around the black hole and the gamma rays that come from it.

Top, artistic representation of the NuSTAR space telescope (NASA/JPL-Caltech). Bottom left, one of the galaxies observed with the NuSTAR space telescope (Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA). Bottom right, artistic concept of a supermassive black hole hidden by dust and gas in its host galaxy (NASA/ESA)

Yesterday at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting (NAM2015), at the Venue Cymru centre in Llandudno, Wales, evidence were presented of the discovery of supermassive black holes found thanks to the NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) space telescope. An international team led by astronomers at the British Durham University detected the high energy X-ray emission from five black holes that were previously hidden by dust and gas.

Galaxies containing quasars observed using the Hubble Space Telescope: in the top row the quasars are visible, in the bottom row the quasars' light is subtracted (Image NASA/ESA)

An article in the journal “Astrophysical Journal” describes a research conducted on quasars using the Hubble Space Telescope. These objects that are incredibly bright were observed in their formation phase, when they were in a sense teen-agers. The observations confirm the hypothesis that quasars are generated by galactic collisions that feed the supermassive black hole at their center.