Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's Weirder that a Single Super Massive Black Hole? Dual Supermassive Black holes!

The Chandra X-ray telescope continues to find some of the strangest objects in the Universe. Case in point - A pair of super massive black holes in the center of the spiral galaxy NGC 3393.

In the image here, we see a composite of blue which is the X-ray information from Chandra and gold which is the optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope. And according to the Wired article, the insert is just data of the high energy x-rays as seen by Chandra. The blue indicates hot gas but low x-ray energy, it also indicates strong iron bands which means the pair are growing.

Since black holes of this size are found mostly in the center of galaxies, the pair indicates a collision between two separate galaxies which also accounts for the large amount of gas and dust that are obscuring the pair.

What is truly amazing is that it is obvious that the pair of super-massive black holes are strongly influencing each other. Astronomically speaking they are close, but the influence is being felt over a distance of 490 light years! Plus at 160 million light years, they are the closest pair of super-massive black holes us.


kallamis said...

Here is something I was wondering about, and have been for a very long time. I think that Michio Kaku touched on this recently on one of my science shows, but thanks to building my second floor, I missed what he said. But I know it was only for a moment. Here is my question.
We all know what happens when a star goes super nova. What would be the output of energy and well lets just say it, destruction, if a massive black hole would explode.
Could that be the big bang, or at least one of them. Just a thought, and like all strange thoughts show up at 4am when I'm busy with other things.
I really have to find a ship. I'm just too nosy for my own good.

Beam Me Up said...

I think the point of confusion here might be that of the possibility of a black hole "exploding". A black hole is the very antithetic of an explosion a "negative" explosion if you will (at least to the quantum state, after that all bets are off). Instead of a rapid expansion, it is a catastrophic "implosion". I really thing the term "Big Bang" as a misnomer. I don't think they take it back far enough. Most envision an ultra-dense soup of quasi particles. But where did they come from? I really think that at the end of our universe when the black holes have drawn up all normal matter and the final proton has degraded past its' half life and all mass and matter are closed off. Time, space and matter will then have no reference. There is some reference point that as this last proton dies, or splits or whatever you believe happens, a quasi particle is pulled into our nothingness, much as a vacuum will draw up water. Now how do we get from a single almost something to quark soup, like I said, I can imagine down to the quantum state but after that it is much too weird for me.

Now I am not saying that black holes are permanent because quantum physics itself say that as the in-falling mass crosses the event horizon, some of it is thrown off, as in evaporation if you will and we see evidence of a portion of this as passive spouts of gas and x-rays from the poles.

Is this the "right" answer? Hardly, but merely looking at the effect in a slightly different manner. In any event it is fun to just contemplate the possibilities.

kallamis said...

Yeah no kidding man. I can actually see a lot of things myself to a certain point.
The exploding black hole has always fascinated me though. I know it's virtually impossible as we understand things, but you never know.
It's a mighty big universe out there, and we haven't even seen a micro-fraction of what is out there.
This is why we need a lot more money into research.

Beam Me Up said...

I know, but think about it....say a simple fire cracker to simulate a super nova. Once the fuse is lit, there is a great deal of outward pressure. With the star, the outer portions of the star supply a great deal of inward pressure due to gravity. However the added energy of the expanding core over comes the balance and an "explosion" happens. As with the firecracker you have a rapidly expanding globe of gasses and more complex materials. (I know it is much more complex with a star, especially one several time more massive than our sun....and what ever happened to just plain novas? Everything now is SUPER this or SUPER that....I seem to remember that a regular nova generated weirdies like a magnatar or a pulsar...or white dwarf) These can't be undone, the outer shell expands and attenuates and what is left is a burnt husk.