X-Ray Observatory Finds Galactic Black Holes Hidden “Like Monsters Under The Bed”

NGC 1448, a galaxy with a supermassive black hole hidden by gas and dust, located 38 million light-years away. Credit: Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey/NASA/JPL-Caltech

Many if not all galaxies—including our Milky Way—harbor enormous, supermassive black holes at their centers, surrounded by disks of superheated gas and orbiting stars caught in a deadly gravitational grip. When these black holes swallow large amounts of gas or even whole stars, they can fire out huge flares of material and radiation that’s can be seen far across the universe. But if there happens to be a lot of cold, dark dust in the way these active galactic nuclei can remain hidden from our view…that is, until NASA’s NuSTAR space telescope was put on the job. Especially sensitive to radiation in high-energy x-ray wavelengths, NuSTAR has allowed astronomers to detect previously hidden supermassive black holes…one of them at the heart of a galaxy relatively close to our own.

Read the rest of this story from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory here: Black Holes Hide in Our Cosmic Backyard

One Comment

  1. Niranjanan says:

    Yes Jason, its right that black holes at the centre of our galaxy are like hidden monsters under the bed because considering the huge amounts of radiation they emit black holes at the galactic centres play a very vital role in determining habitable zones in the galaxy. Scientists have been calling this galactic goldilocks, a narrow region around the galaxy where the distance from its centre is just the right enough for life to be safe from the radiation emitted by the monster hiding there. This has helped a lot in determining the chances for the existence of extraterrestrial life in many of the exoplanets.

    Luckily for us, we are at the right distance from the galactic center and wont get into danger zone for at least a few hundred million or even some billion years.

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