Black holes

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.

The galaxy group NGC 5813 observed with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (Image X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/S.Randall et al., Optical: SDSS)

An article in “The Astrophysical Journal” describes a research group of NGC 5813 made using the NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. In this galaxy group, multiple eruptions originate from the supermassive black hole at the galactic center that gives its name to the group were discovered. This activity took place over about 50 million years and has changed the appearance of the group, creating various cavities, huge bubbles within the cloud of hot gas that surrounds it.

Artistic concept of a galaxy generatic relativistic jets with radio waves coming from its supermassive black hole (Image ESA/Hubble, L. Cal├žada (ESO))

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal” describes a study that established a link between the presence of supermassive black holes that emit jets of materials to nearly the speed of light but also radio waves and galaxy mergers. An international team of astronomers led by Italian INAF researcher Marco Chiaberge used the Hubble Space Telescope in the most extensive survey of the kind ever conducted.