Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Quasars & Active Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Questions and Answers
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Chandra Images
Quasars & Active Galaxies
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Questions and Answers: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Chandra Images: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Related Podcasts
Tour of RX J1131-1231
Download Image

More Information

More Images
Optical Image of 4C41.17
(Credit: NASA/CXC/
Columbia/C. Scharf et al.)

Animation & Video


Related Images
3C294
3C294
(15 Feb 01)
4C41.17:
New View of Biggest Construction Sites in Universe


4C41.17
Credit: NASA/CXC/Columbia/C.Scharf et al.

Chandra's images of two distant massive galaxies show that they are enveloped by vast clouds of high-energy particles that are evidence for past explosive activity. In both galaxies radio and X-ray jets allow this activity to be traced back to central supermassive black holes. The jets are heating gas outside the galaxies in regions hundreds of thousands of light years across.

The Chandra data will help scientists understand how nature imposes a weight limit on the growth of the most massive galaxies in the universe. These galaxies reside in regions of space that contain an unusually large concentration of galaxies, gas and dark matter.

A massive galaxy and its central black hole grow through cannibalization of nearby galaxies and through accumulation of gas from intergalactic space. Eventually however, the infall of matter into the central supermassive black hole will produce an energetic jet, which will heat the surrounding gas and stop the growth of the galaxy at a few dozen times the mass of our Galaxy.

Another implication of this research is that a massive galaxy does not grow steadily, but in fits and starts. In the beginning of a growth cycle, the galaxy and its central black hole are accumulating matter. The energy generated by the jets that accompany the growth of the supermassive black hole eventually brings the infall of matter and the growth of the galaxy to a halt. The activity around the central black hole then ceases because of the lack of a steady supply of matter, and the jets disappear. Millions of years later the hot gas around the galaxy cools and resumes falling into the galaxy, initiating a new season of growth.

Fast Facts for 4C41.17:
Credit  NASA/CXC/Columbia/C.Scharf et al.
Scale  Image is 60 arcsec on a side.
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies, Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA06h 50m 52.10s | Dec +41° 30' 30.80"
Constellation  Aurigae
Observation Date  September 25, 2002
Observation Time  38 hours
Obs. ID  3208, 4379
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
Distance Estimate  12 billion light years (redshift = 3.8)
Release Date  May 21, 2003

Fast Facts for 3C294:
Credit  NASA/CXC/IoA/A.Fabian et al.
Scale  Image is 50 arcsec on a side
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies, Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 14h 06m 44.10s | Dec +34° 11' 24.80"
Constellation  Boötes
Observation Date  February 25 & 27, 2002
Observation Time  53.3 hours
Obs. ID  3207, 3445
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
Distance Estimate  10 billion light years (redshift = 1.78)
Release Date  May 21, 2003