Black holes

The galaxy RX J1140.1+0307 (Photo ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt)

A photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxy RX J1140.1+0307 and apparently it’s a spiral galaxy like there are a lot, including the Milky Way. However, normally these galaxies have at their center a supermassive black hole, instead RX J1140.1+0307 has a smaller, intermediate-mass black hole. This is an anomaly and astronomers are looking for an explanation.

NGC 1448 in an image combining data from the Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey in the optical range and NuSTAR in the X-ray range (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech/Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey)

At the American Astronomical Society meeting the results of the study of galaxies NGC 1448 and IC 3639 were presented showing how they led to the identification of supermassive black holes at their centers. A team of researchers used NASA’s NuSTAR Space Telescope to detect the high energy X-ray emission from them and see beyond the dust and gas that hid those areas.

The region around Sagittarius A* (Image X-ray: NASA/UMass/D.Wang et al., IR: NASA/STScI)

An article published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” describes a research on Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. A team of scientists from the University of Princeton and the US Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) developed a new method to create a model of the accretion disk which feeds Sagittarius A*.

Artistic concept of a star getting close to a supermassive black hole (Image ESO, ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser)

An article published in the journal “Nature Astronomy” describes a research about ASASSN-15lh, which had been classified as a superluminous supernova after it was discovered in 2015. An international team led by Giorgos Leloudas of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and the Dark Cosmology Centre, Denmark, examined the observations made with various telescopes and concluded that it was actually a star destroyed by a supermassive black hole.

Artistic representation of the galactic encounter that generated B3 1715+425 (Image Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

An article published in the “Astrophysical Journal” describes the discovery of the remnants of a galaxy of which only a small core remained after passing through a larger galaxy. A team of astronomers used the VLBA radio telescope to find this unique object cataloged as B3 1715+425 with a diameter that is now only 3,000 light-years and a supermassive black hole at its center.