Galactic Collisions Meet Supermassive Black Holes in This Deep Space Image

Composite X-ray (blue), radio (magenta), and optical (background stars and galaxies) image of colliding galaxy clusters Abell 3411 and 3412. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/R. van Weeren et al; Optical: NAOJ/Subaru; Radio: NCRA/TIFR/GMRT.

Observations from some of the world’s most powerful telescopes—NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India, the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, and Japan’s Subaru Telescope in Hawai’i have been combined to create an image of two incredibly powerful cosmic forces colliding, two billion light-years away. Hot gas fired out from supermassive black holes inside one cluster of galaxies is accelerated to high speeds when it meets the shockwaves caused by a collision with a neighboring cluster, huge interactions spanning hundreds of thousands of light-years but only visible in X-ray and radio wavelengths.

Read more and find out what’s going on in this image in the Chandra news article here.