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More Information
Black Holes
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Black Holes
Questions and Answers
Black Holes
Chandra Images
Black Holes
Animations & Video: Black Holes
Page 1234567
Click for high-resolution animation
1. A Tour of GRS 1915+105
QuicktimeMPEG GRS 1915+105, or GRS 1915 for short, is a special system. Not only does it contain a black hole some 14 times more massive than the Sun in orbit with a companion star, it also has a heartbeat. Or, more exactly, it gives off X-ray pulses that resemble the pattern of a human heart, though on a much slower scale. By monitoring this system with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, astronomers were able to pick out a spike of X-rays every 50 seconds or so. Researchers have determined that this heartbeat is due to the ebb and flow of material as it circles the black hole. This result gives scientists more insight into how black holes regulate their intake and control their growth.
[Runtime: 0.55]
(NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen et al & A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. GRS 1915's "Heartbeat" X-ray Variation
QuicktimeMPEG The heartbeat variation of GRS 1915 is shown here in a repeated cycle to emphasize the similarity between the X-ray light curve and an electrocardiogram. The period has been sped up by a factor of 40.
[Runtime: 0.20]
(NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen et al)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Simulation of GRS 1915's "Heartbeat"
QuicktimeMPEG This movie shows a simulation of the heartbeat variation of GRS 1915. It shows an X-ray point source varying with time, based on an average X-ray light curve of GRS 1915 obtained with RXTE. The period of the heartbeat variation has been sped up by a factor of 10 and four cycles of the variation are shown.
[Runtime: 0.20]
(NASA/CXC/Harvard/J.Neilsen & A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. A Tour of SN 1979C
QuicktimeMPEG The youngest known black hole in our cosmic neighborhood may have been found using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. Evidence for this very young black hole was found in a supernova called 1979C, seen to explode about 30 years ago. Dr Dan Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics led this study and discusses it with us.
[Runtime: 02:56]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/D.Patnaude et al, Optical: ESO/VLT, Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Animation of Black Hole Formation in SN 1979C
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows how a black hole may have formed in SN 1979C. The collapse of a massive star is shown, after it has exhausted its fuel. A flash of light from a shock breaking through the surface of the star is then shown, followed by a powerful supernova explosion. The view then zooms into the center of the explosion. Red, slow-moving material in a disk is shown falling onto the white neutron star that formed when the star collapsed. The rate of infall onto the neutron star increases until the star collapses into a black hole. Matter should continue to fall into the black hole and generate bright X-ray emission for many years.
[Runtime: 00:20]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of NGC 7793
QuicktimeMPEG This composite image shows the nearby galaxy NGC 7793 that contains a powerful microquasar in its outskirts. Data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory is colored red, green and blue, while optical data from the Very Large Telescope is light blue, and optical emission by hydrogen, known as "H-alpha", is colored gold. A microquasar is a system in which a stellar-mass black hole is being fed by a companion star. Gas swirling toward the black hole forms a disk around it. Twisted magnetic fields in the disk generate strong electromagnetic forces that propel some of the gas away from the disk at high speeds in two separate jets. These create a huge bubble of hot gas about 1,000 light years across.
[Runtime: 0.53]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/Univ of Strasbourg/M. Pakull et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/Univ of Strasbourg/M. Pakull et al); H-alpha (NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO 1.5m))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of M82 and Mid-mass Black Holes
QuicktimeMPEG We begin with a composite image of the nearby starburst galaxy M82 that contains X-rays from Chandra in blue, optical data from Hubble in green and orange, and infrared data from Spitzer in red. Next we zoom into the central region of M82, where just Chandra's view is visible. There we see two bright X-ray sources of special interest. Astronomers think these may be medium-sized black holes. These "survivor" black holes seem to have avoided falling into the center of the galaxy. They could also be examples of seeds required for the growth of supermassive black holes in all galaxies, including the one in the Milky Way.
[Runtime: 0.44]
(Inset: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Tsinghua Univ./H. Feng et al.; Full-field: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M82

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Animation of Jet and Wind around GRS 1915+105
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows how radio jets may be suppressed in the micro- quasar GRS 1915. Material is being pulled from a red companion star into a black hole via a blue, rapidly rotating disk. The animation begins with a jet blowing material away from the black hole. Later, when the disk is heated by powerful radiation from close to the black hole, a wind is driven off the disk. As the wind strengthens, the jet apparently is shut down because the wind deprives the jet of material that would otherwise have fueled it.
[Runtime: 0.25]
View Stills
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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Click for high-resolution animation
9. Tour of Sagittarius A*
QuicktimeMPEG Astronomers have long known that the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy is a particularly poor eater. The fuel for this black hole, known as Sagittarius A* (or Sgr A* for short), comes from powerful winds blown off nearby stars. Scientists have previously calculated that Sgr A* should consume about one percent of the fuel carried in the winds. However, it now appears that Sgr A* consumes much less than even that. It only ingests about one percent of that one percent. Why does it consume so little? A theoretical model based on these new deep data seen in this Chandra image may provide the answer. It turns out that there is an inner and outer region around the black hole. Pressure flowing outward causes nearly all of the gas to move away from the black hole. This in turn starves the black hole of much of its fuel, and this is why astronomers have seen so little activity from this, our closest supermassive black hole.
[Runtime: 1.08]
(NASA/CXC/MIT/F.K. Baganoff et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Tour of NGC 6240
QuicktimeMPEG NGC 6240 is a system in which two supermassive black holes are a mere 3,000 light years apart, virtually nothing in astronomical terms. These black holes -- the two bright point-like sources in the middle -- are in such close proximity, scientists think they are in the act of spiraling toward each other. This is a process that began about 30 million years ago. It's estimated that the two black holes will eventually drift together and merge into a larger black hole some tens to hundreds of millions of years from now.
[Runtime: 0.35]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/MIT/C.Canizares, M.Nowak); Optical (NASA/STScI))

Related Chandra Images:

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