Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies!
Over many years, astronomers have gathered data on the formation of stars in galaxies and the growth of supermassive black holes (that is, those with millions or billions the mass of the Sun) in their centers. These data suggested that the black holes and the stars in their host galaxies grow in tandem with each other. Now, findings from two independent groups of researchers indicate that the black holes in massive galaxies have grown much faster than in the less massive ones.
Using large amounts of data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory (@nasachandraxray), the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble) and other observatories, scientists studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. They calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy.
A common idea is that this ratio is approximately constant for all galaxies. Instead, the researchers found that this ratio is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.
This image shows data from the Chandra Deep Field-South in optical and infrared light from the Hubble, and X-ray light from Chandra.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
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Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have identified the source of a mysterious blue light surrounding a supermassive black hole in our neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31). Though the light has puzzled astronomers for more than a decade, the new discovery makes the story even more mysterious. "Seeing these stars is like watching a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. You know it happened but you don't know how it happened," Tod Lauer of the NOAO in Tucson, Arizona. He and a team of astronomers, led by Ralf Bender of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, and John Kormendy of the University of Texas in Austin, made the Hubble observations.
The SN 1987A #supernova 💥 explosión took place roughly 168,000 years ago in the Large Magellanic Cloud (Dwarf Galaxy orbiting the Milky Way) #FBF 🌌 ✨
And after traveling for so long, the light reached Earth in 1987! Its power was compared to that of some 100 million suns. #LikeABOS
Credit: 3D render @esoastronomy VLT