Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
Abell 1795: Death By Black Hole In Small Galaxy?
Abell 1795
Abell 1795

  • A bright flare seen with Chandra provides evidence for a black hole having torn a star apart.

  • This may be the first such recorded event in a dwarf galaxy, a much smaller galaxy than the Milky Way.

  • The dwarf galaxy is located in a galaxy cluster about 800 million light years from Earth.

A bright, long duration flare may be the first recorded event of a black hole destroying a star in a dwarf galaxy, as reported in our latest press release.

The dwarf galaxy is located in the galaxy cluster Abell 1795, about 800 million light years from Earth. A composite image of the cluster shows Chandra X-ray Observatory data in blue and optical data from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in red, green and blue. An inset centered on the dwarf galaxy shows Chandra data taken between 1999 and 2005 on the left and Chandra data taken after 2005 on the right.

The X-ray flare in the inset provides the key evidence for stellar destruction. A star that wanders too close to a supermassive black hole should be ripped apart by extreme tidal forces. As the stellar debris falls toward the black hole, it should produce intense X-rays as it is heated to millions of degrees. The X-rays should fade as the hot gas spirals inward.

animation
Animation of Star Ripped Apart by Giant Black Hole
Credit: ESA

This discovery was part of an ongoing search of Chandra's archival data for such events. In the past few years, Chandra and other astronomical satellites have identified several suspected cases of a supermassive black hole ripping apart a nearby star. This newly discovered episode of cosmic, black-hole-induced violence is different because it has been associated with a much smaller galaxy than these other cases.

The black hole in this dwarf galaxy may be only a few hundred thousand times as massive as the Sun, making it ten times less massive than the Galaxy's supermassive black hole. This places it in what astronomers call an "intermediate mass black hole" category.

Astronomers believe that intermediate mass black holes may be the "seeds" that ultimately formed the supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies like the Milky Way. Finding additional nearby examples should teach us about how these primordial galaxies from the early universe grew and evolved over cosmic time.

Two independent studies reported observations of this event. The paper led by Peter Maksym is available online and was published in the November 1st, 2013 issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. A paper led by Davide Donato and colleagues is available online and has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

 

Fast Facts for Abell 1795:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Alabama/W.P.Maksym et al & NASA/CXC/GSFC/UMD/D.Donato, et al; Optical: CFHT
Release Date  January 8, 2014
Scale  Image is 6.8 arcmin on a side (about 1.5 million light years)
Category  Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 13h 48m 52.70s | Dec +26° 35' 27"
Constellation  Boötes
Observation Date  27 pointings between 20 Dec 1999 and 02 Jun 2011
Observation Time  138 hours 22 min (4 days, 42 hours, 22 min)
Obs. ID  493,494, 3666, 5286-5290, 6159-6163, 10898-10901, 12026-12029, 13412-13417
Instrument  ACIS
References W.P.Maksym, et al, 2013, MNRAS, 435, 1904; arXiv:1307.6556; D.Donato et al, 2013, ApJ, accepted; arXiv:1311.6162
Color Code  X-ray (Blue), Optical (Red, Green, Blue)
Optical
X-ray
Distance Estimate  About 820 million light years (z = 0.062)
Visitor Comments (8)

Do you know how far the closest black whole is?

Posted by Brandon Harrison on Saturday, 03.1.14 @ 20:30pm


What if these black holes are nothing than an open gates to others cosmos.

Posted by Khelifa Elagoune on Wednesday, 01.22.14 @ 18:48pm


A natural question arises from these observations could such dwarf galaxy have been bigger or much bigger in the past and its central black hole swallowed nearby gas and stellar dust or even entire solar systems during the time, causing that galaxy to shrink significantly? If affirmative, the next question could be has such process occurred progressively during billions of terrestrial years or a catastrophic event happened at a galactic scale in a very short interval of time in the past and the galaxy shrank very fast?

Posted by Cristian Chidesa on Monday, 01.20.14 @ 18:42pm


You state "Scientists predict that a star that wanders too close to a giant, or supermassive, black hole could be ripped apart by extreme tidal forces." but the tidal force at the event horizon of supermassive black holes is mild. Isn't it more likely that the accretion disk dynamics and the absolute gravity not tidal forces, or differential gravity lead to the radiation signature? See, e.g., Jeremy D. Schnittman, Julian H. Krolik, Scott C. Noble. The Astrophysical Journal, 2013 769/2/156 DOI 10.1088/0004-637X/769/2/156

Posted by brond on Sunday, 01.12.14 @ 14:58pm


Sherri, how do you suppose any information would be transmitted from inside a black hole's event horizon? It's called "black" because the gravitational pull is so great that nothing can get out, not even light.

As for what's on the other side, there isn't another side. Stars that get sucked in are simply ripped apart and compressed, forming part of the black hole's great mass.

Posted by David Harley on Saturday, 01.11.14 @ 22:26pm


The black hole, Sherri, would destroy Chandra before it could get into the innards of the black whole once it past the event horizon. Even if it could the signal could never get out of the black hole.

Marvin L. S.

Posted by Marvin L. S. on Saturday, 01.11.14 @ 17:56pm


I personally believe that it is worth sending Chandra into the black hole considering that we can possibly open man-kind to the mystries of not only black holes, but also theoretical white holes and worm holes. However, considering that black holes come in different shapes or so I was told by my AP Physics teacher, would we not have to make sure that the shape of the black hole corresponds with the typical shape of a worm hole.

Posted by Sagar Patel on Saturday, 01.11.14 @ 09:40am


Could we send Chandra into a black hole so that we can know what goes on inside or on the other side of it? Is that possible? not that I would like to lose Chandra, but it would be extremely educational, don't you agree?

Posted by Sherri on Thursday, 01.9.14 @ 00:14am


Leave Your Comment

Name:

Email:

Comments:


 
 

Rules

Rate This Image

Rating: 2.8/5
(312 votes cast)
Download & Share

Desktops

1024x768 - 822.1 kb
1280x1024 - 1.3 MB
1680x1050 - 1.6 MB
More Information
More Images
X-ray Image of Abell 1795
Jpg, Tif
X-ray

More Images
Animation & Video
Tour of Abell 1795
animation

More Animations
More Releases
Abell 1795
Abell 1795
(04 Dec 00)

Related Images
Henize 2-10
Henize 2-10
(10 Jan 11)
Sagittarius A*
Sagittarius A*
(16 Apr 08)

Related Information
Related Podcast
Top Rated Images
G327.1-1.1

Eta Carinae

WASP-18




FaceBookTwitterYouTubeFlickr