NGC 1553: A lenticular galaxy located
about 70 million light years from Earth.
Caption: Chandra's image of this
distant galaxy revealed a surprising number of point-like
sources that have been identified as black holes and neutron
stars in binary star systems. Since black holes and neutron
stars are the end state of the brightest and most massive stars,
this detection shows that NGC 1553 once contained many very
bright, massive stars, in marked contrast to the present
population of low-mass faint stars that now dominate the galaxy.
The bright central X-ray source is probably due to a
supermassive black hole in the nucleus of the galaxy.
Scale: Image is 4 arcmin on a
Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS
CXC operated for
NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical