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Quasars & Active Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Questions and Answers
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Chandra Images
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Animations & Video: Quasars & Active Galaxies
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Click for high-resolution animation
1. Animation of 3C321
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This animation of 3C321 begins with a close-up of the supermassive black hole in the center of the main galaxy. Hot gas is falling towards the black hole via a blue disk. Some of this material is swallowed by the black hole, but much of it is ejected in a narrow jet of particles traveling at almost the speed of light. The camera then pulls back to show stars and a dust lane in the main galaxy. As the field of view continues to increase in size, the companion galaxy becomes visible as it swings into the path of the jet from the main galaxy. The jet is deflected and disrupted by the impact with the companion galaxy.
[Runtime: 0:46]
(NASA/STScI/G. Bacon)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. A Multiwavelength View of NGC 4258
QuicktimeMPEG For decades, astronomers have known about the so-called anomalous arms in the spiral galaxy NGC 4258. This motion graphic shows NGC 4258 from the viewpoint of multiple space and ground-based observations. Visible light (seen in gold) from the Digitized Sky Survey and infrared light (red) from the Spitzer Space Telescope reveals two prominent arms. However, radio data (purple) from the Very Large Array and X-ray data (blue) from Chandra show two additional, offset arms. By combining all of these data, scientists have found evidence that the mysterious X-ray arms are due to shock waves generated by the supermassive black hole in the nucleus of NGC 4258. The shock waves heat the gas in the disk, causing it to radiate brightly in X-rays and other wavelengths.
[Runtime: 0:18]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Maryland/A.S. Wilson et al. Optical: Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; VLA: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Sequence of M87 Images
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with an optical view of M87, a giant elliptical galaxy only 50 million light years away in the Virgo cluster. X-ray data (red) are then overlaid and reveal a series of loops and bubbles in the hot gas that surrounds the galaxy and fills the cluster. These are evidence of repeated outbursts from close to the supermassive black hole in M87, which are responsible for producing sound throughout the cluster.
[Runtime: 0:23]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/W.Forman et al.; Optical: DSS)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M87

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Different Views of 3C442A
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with an optical view of the region around the 3C442A system. After zooming in, the Chandra X-ray and VLA radio images appear, showing the dramatic difference between what is seen in various wavelengths. There are two galaxies near the middle of 3C442A which are in the process of merging. These two galaxies are on their second pass toward a collision, having already experienced a close encounter.
[Runtime: 0:16]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Bristol/Worrall et al.; Radio: NRAO/AUI/NSF; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Comparing Different Black Holes
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This sequence shows four black holes from the Bootes field. The first two black holes are obscured by thick rings of gas. Because such a ring blocks certain types of radiation, these black holes are only are seen in X-ray (blue) and infrared (red) light. The last two black holes are not enshrouded by this ring of material, and, therefore, emit X-ray, infrared, and optical (green) radiation. These objects helps astronomers better understand the properties of these monster black holes.
[Runtime: 0:08]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Hickox et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL/Caltech/P.Eisenhardt & D.Stern et al.; Optical: NOAO/B.Jannuzi & A.Dey et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Scale Chandra Images to Full Moon
QuicktimeMPEG This survey, taken in a region of the Bootes constellation, involved 126 separate Chandra exposures of 5,000-seconds each, making it the largest contiguous field ever obtained by the observatory. At 9.3 square degrees, it is over 40 times larger than the full moon seen on the night sky, which is shown in this graphic for scale.
[Runtime: 0:12]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Hickox et al.; Moon: NASA/JPL)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Animation of Eruption from Supermassive Black Hole
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This animation depicts an eruption caused by a supermassive black hole. Gas and dust (reddish-brown disk) are being pulled around by the enormous gravity of the supermassive black hole, which is buried in the center of a large elliptical galaxy. The animation then zooms out to show the full view of the galaxy, which is surrounded by hot gas (red) that pervades the galaxy cluster. White jets, fueled from material falling onto the black hole, then erupt from the black hole and push gas backwards to create the dark cavities in the cluster gas.
[Runtime: 0:17]
View Stills
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Animation of Centaurus A Arcs
QuicktimeMPEG This animation begins with the location of Centaurus A on the Chandra x-ray sky map. Next, it dissolves from the Chandra X-ray image to the DSS optical to the two NRAO radio images. The final frame fades in the full composite image with x-ray, optical and radio data combined.
[Runtime: 0:31]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Animation of How Supermassive Black Holes Affect the Formation of Massive Galaxies
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This animation begins by looking at the exterior of an elliptical galaxy. It then zooms into the region near the galaxy's massive central black hole. The sequence then shows how powerful jets of high-energy particles emanate from the vicinity of the black hole. These jets heat gas around the galaxy and stop the infall of matter into the galaxy, thereby limiting the galaxy's growth. This is what astronomers believe is happening in the cases of 4C41.17 and 3C294.
[Runtime: 0:22]
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(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
10. Black Hole Animation
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This animation illustrates the activity surrounding a black hole. While the matter that has passed the black hole's "event horizon" can't be seen, material swirling outside this threshold is accelerated to millions of degrees and radiates in X-rays. At the end of the animation, the black hole is shown shrouded in a cloud of gas and dust, obscuring it from most angles at wavelengths other than the X-rays picked up by the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
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(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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