Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




TIME AND SPACE
NASA's NuStar Catches Black Holes In Galaxy Web
by Staff Writers
Long Beach CA (SPX) Jan 10, 2013


This new view of spiral galaxy IC 342, also known as Caldwell 5, includes data from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. High-energy X-ray data from NuSTAR have been translated to the color magenta, and superimposed on a visible-light view highlighting the galaxy and its star-studded arms. NuSTAR is the first orbiting telescope to take focused pictures of the cosmos in high-energy X-ray light; previous observations of this same galaxy taken at similar wavelengths blurred the entire object into one pixel. The two magenta spots are blazing black holes first detected at lower-energy X-ray wavelengths by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. With NuSTAR's complementary data, astronomers can start to home in on the black holes' mysterious properties.
The black holes appear much brighter than typical stellar-mass black holes, such as those that pepper our own galaxy, yet they cannot be supermassive black holes or they would have sunk to the galaxy's center. Instead, they may be intermediate in mass, or there may be something else going on to explain their extremely energetic state. NuSTAR will help solve this puzzle. IC 342 lies 7 million light-years away in the Camelopardalis constellation. The outer edges of the galaxy cannot be seen in this view. This image shows NuSTAR X-ray data taken at 10 to 35 kiloelectron volts. The visible-light image is from the Digitized Sky Survey. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS. For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, set its X-ray eyes on a spiral galaxy and caught the brilliant glow of two black holes lurking inside. The new image is being released Monday along with NuSTAR's view of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

"These new images showcase why NuSTAR is giving us an unprecedented look at the cosmos," said Lou Kaluzienski, NuSTAR program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington.

"With NuSTAR's greater sensitivity and imaging capability, we're getting a wealth of new information on a wide array of cosmic phenomena in the high-energy X-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum." Launched last June, NuSTAR is the first orbiting telescope with the ability to focus high-energy X-ray light.

It can view objects in considerably greater detail than previous missions operating at similar wavelengths. Since launch, the NuSTAR team has been fine-tuning the telescope, which includes a mast the length of a school bus connecting the mirrors and detectors.

The mission has looked at a range of extreme, high-energy objects already, including black holes near and far, and the incredibly dense cores of dead stars.

In addition, NuSTAR has begun black hole searches in the inner region of the Milky Way galaxy and in distant galaxies in the universe. Among the telescope's targets is the spiral galaxy IC342, also known as Caldwell 5, featured in one of the two new images.

This galaxy lies 7 million light-years away in the constellation Camelopardalis (the Giraffe). Previous X-ray observations of the galaxy from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed the presence of two blinding black holes, called ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs).

How ULXs can shine so brilliantly is an ongoing mystery in astronomy. While these black holes are not as powerful as the supermassive black hole at the hearts of galaxies, they are more than 10 times brighter than the stellar-mass black holes peppered among the stars in our own galaxy.

Astronomers think ULXs could be less common intermediate-mass black holes, with a few thousand times the mass of our sun, or smaller stellar-mass black holes in an unusually bright state.

A third possibility is that these black holes don't fit neatly into either category. "High-energy X-rays hold a key to unlocking the mystery surrounding these objects," said Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "Whether they are massive black holes, or there is new physics in how they feed, the answer is going to be fascinating."

In the image, the two bright spots that appear entangled in the arms of the IC342 galaxy are the black holes. High-energy X-ray light has been translated into the color magenta, while the galaxy itself is shown in visible light. "Before NuSTAR, high-energy X-ray pictures of this galaxy and the two black holes would be so fuzzy that everything would appear as one pixel," said Harrison.

The second image features the well-known, historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, located 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. The color blue indicates the highest-energy X-ray light seen by NuSTAR, while red and green signify the lower end of NuSTAR's energy range.

The blue region is where the shock wave from the supernova blast is slamming into material surrounding it, accelerating particles to nearly the speed of light. As the particles speed up, they give off a type of light known as synchrotron radiation. NuSTAR will be able to determine for the first time how energetic the particles are, and address the mystery of what causes them to reach such great speeds.

"Cas A is the poster child for studying how massive stars explode and also provides us a clue to the origin of the high-energy particles, or cosmic rays, that we see here on Earth," said Brian Grefenstette of Caltech, a lead researcher on the observations.

"With NuSTAR, we can study where, as well as how, particles are accelerated to such ultra-relativistic energies in the remnant left behind by the supernova explosion."

.


Related Links
NuSTAR
Understanding Time and Space






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TIME AND SPACE
Our Galaxy's "geysers" are towers of power
Parkes, Australia (SPX) Jan 04, 2013
"Monster" outflows of charged particles from the centre of our Galaxy, stretching more than halfway across the sky, have been detected and mapped with CSIRO's 64-m Parkes radio telescope. The outflows were were detected by astronomers from Australia, the USA, Italy and The Netherlands. "These outflows contain an extraordinary amount of energy - about a million times the energy of an explo ... read more


TIME AND SPACE
Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

Russia designs manned lunar spacecraft

GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA probes crash into the moon

TIME AND SPACE
Simulated mission to Mars reveals critical data about sleep needs for astronauts

NASA's Big Mars Rover Makes First Use Of Its Brush

Lockheed Martin Delivered Core Structure For First GOES-R Satellite

Opportunity Scores Another Dust Cleaning Event At Vermillion

TIME AND SPACE
Simulated Mars mission shows good sleep is critical

2012 in Polish space activities

Captain's log: real space chat for Star Trek crew

Congress Approves Bill Supporting Human Space Exploration

TIME AND SPACE
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

TIME AND SPACE
Crew Wraps Up Robonaut Testing

Station Crew Ringing in New Year

Expedition 34 Ready to Ring in New Year

New ISS crew docked at Space Station

TIME AND SPACE
Arianespace to launch VNREDSat-1A built by Astrium for Vietnam

Arianespace says 2012 sales leapt by 30%

CSF Applauds Passage Of Risk-Sharing Regime Extension For Launch Industry

Rokot Launch Set for January 15

TIME AND SPACE
NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

NASA, ESA Telescopes Find Evidence for Asteroid Belt Around Vega

Kepler Gets a Little Help From Its Friends

15 New Planets Hint At "Traffic Jam" Of Moons In Habitable Zone

TIME AND SPACE
LEON: the space chip that Europe built

Counting the twists in a helical light beam

Oscillating Gel Gives Synthetic Materials the Ability to "Speak"

Cloud computing expands in Latin America




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement