Taking a Galaxy’s Temperature

The image above shows the variation in temperature over the span of NGC 5813. The outline encircles a region 367,000 light years in diameter, and the temperatures indicated are in millions of degrees. Red indicates warmer temperatures, blue cooler. This image uses information from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and optical imaging from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). Image Credit: Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/S.Randall et al., Optical: SDSS

The role that supermassive black holes play in the formation of galaxies is a “hot” topic in astronomy. Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, an international team of astronomers have been able to create a temperature map of one galaxy, NGC 5813, which is located in the Virgo III Group of galaxies. The new map shows in unprecedented detail the history of various periods of activity of the Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN), which is associated with a supermassive black hole that resides at its center. They found that regular outbursts of the AGN maintained the temperature of the gas in the region of the galaxy, continually reheating the gas that would otherwise have cooled down. (…) Read the rest of Taking a Galaxy’s Temperature (763 words)

* * *

(C) nick for Universe Today, 2010. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us Post

Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh

URL: http://www.universetoday.com/81579/taking-a-galaxys-temperature/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *