NGC 3783: An Active Galaxy with a
giant black hole.
Caption: Chandra measured the effects
of the intense radiation produced by matter before it plunges
into the giant black hole at the core of the active galaxy
NGC3783. The radiation heats the surrounding gas and drives a
million mile per hour wind of energetic particles away from the
crushing grip of the black hole's gravity. The actual Chandra
image (top section) is the central bright spot. The long
intersecting lines show the dispersion of the X-ray beam, by the
High Energy Transmission Grating, spread into a rainbow-like
display of hundreds of different X-ray "colors" or energies.
Computers then translated this display into a jagged line-plot.
Specific elements in the wind (oxygen, neon, magnesium, silicon,
sulfur, argon, and iron) reveal their presence by sharp
absorption dips in the plot. By examining the widths and
locations of these dips, researchers can use the same principle
as a radar gun to measure the velocities of the powerful gas
flows at the galaxy's core.
Chandra X-ray Observatory HETG/ACIS
CXC operated for
NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical