This image of Centaurus A shows a spectacular new view of a supermassive black hole's power. Jets and lobes powered by the central black hole in this nearby galaxy are shown by submillimeter data (colored orange) from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile and X-ray data (colored blue) from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Visible light data from the Wide Field Imager on the Max-Planck/ESO 2.2 m telescope, also located in Chile, shows the dust lane in the galaxy and background stars. The X-ray jet in the upper left extends for about 13,000 light years away from the black hole. The APEX data shows that material in the jet is travelling at about half the speed of light.

Centaurus A

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-Kimberly Arcand, CXC


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Additional inforamtion about supermassive black hole's power.

Well, a current leading theory says that when galaxies collide, their black holes end up revolving around each other. Together, the two black holes act like an egg beater: They violently stir up the galaxy center with their incredibly strong gravity, and they fling stars out of the central regions. As the black hole pair sinks to the center of the new merger remnant, this supergalaxy’s core is depleted of the stars that were flung away.

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bruce


RE: Additional Information

That's an interesting comment. The significance of such effects probably depends on the masses of both supermassive black holes. I believe that the merger in Cen A is with a small late-type galaxy and so it should contain only a relatively small supermassive black hole (some late type galaxies might not contain *any* supermassive black hole). The chances of such effects being important at a given time after a merger would also depend on the timescale of this egg beater phase.

Chandra EPO


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