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
Chandra 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
Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Related Podcasts
M60-UCD1 in 60 Seconds
Download Image

More Information

More Images
Chandra X-ray Image
of NGC 0507
X-ray: NASA/CXC/
U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl

Animation & Video


Related Images
NGC 4261
NGC 4261
(08 Dec 03)
NGC 1553
NGC 1553
(04 Jun 02)
NGC 4636
NGC 4636
(19 Dec 01)
NGC 0507:
Black Holes Stir Up Galaxies


NGC 0507
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS

Chandra images of 56 elliptical galaxies have revealed evidence for unsuspected turmoil. As this sample gallery of X-ray (blue & white) and optical (gray & white) images shows, the shapes of the massive clouds of hot gas that produce X-ray light in these galaxies differ markedly from the distribution of stars that produce the optical light.

Except for rare cases, most violent activity in isolated elliptical galaxies was thought to have stopped long ago. Elliptical galaxies contain very little cool gas and dust, and far fewer massive young stars which explode as supernovas. Thus it was expected that the hot interstellar gas would have settled into an equilibrium shape similar to, but rounder than that of the stars.

Surprisingly, this study of elliptical galaxies shows that the distribution of hot gas has no correlation with the optical shape. A powerful source of energy must be pushing the hot gas around and stirring it up every hundred million years or so.

Although supernovas are a possible energy source, a more probable cause has been identified. The scientists detected a correlation between the shape of the hot gas clouds and the power produced at radio wavelengths by high-energy electrons. This power source can be traced back to the supermassive black hole in the galaxies' central regions.

Repetitive explosive activity fueled by the infall of gas into the central supermassive black hole is known to occur in giant elliptical galaxies located in galaxy clusters. Scientists' analysis of the Chandra data indicates that the same phenomena are occurring in isolated elliptical galaxies as well.

Fast Facts for NGC 0507:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 3.4 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 01h 23m 39.00s | Dec +33º 15' 24.00"
Constellation  Pisces
Observation Dates  11 October 2000
Observation Time  8 hours
Obs. IDs  317
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 234 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006
Fast Facts for NGC 5044:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 4.75 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 13h 15m 24.00s | Dec -16º 23' 06.40"
Constellation  Virgo
Observation Dates  19 March 2000
Observation Time  6 hours
Obs. IDs  798
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 102 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006
Fast Facts for NGC 1399:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 1.5 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 03h 38m 29.40s | Dec -35º 27' 00.40"
Constellation  Fornax
Observation Dates  18 January 2000
Observation Time  16 hours
Obs. IDs  319
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 65 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006
Fast Facts for NGC 0533:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 1.4 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 01h 25m 31.40s | Dec +01º 45' 32.80"
Constellation  Cetus
Observation Dates  28 July 2002
Observation Time  11 hours
Obs. IDs  2880
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 253 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006
Fast Facts for NGC 7618:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 2.4 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 23h 19m 47.30s | Dec +42º 51' 07.70"
Constellation  Andromeda
Observation Dates  10 December 1999
Observation Time  5 hours
Obs. IDs  802
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 251 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006
Fast Facts for NGC 6482:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/CXC/U. Ohio/T.Statler & S.Diehl; Optical: DSS
Scale  Image is 1.45 arcmin across.
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 17h 51m 48.90s | Dec +23º 04' 19.00"
Constellation  Hercules
Observation Dates  20 May 2002
Observation Time  5 hours
Obs. IDs  3218
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
References T. Statler and S.Diehl, 2006, "Morphology of the Hot ISM in Normal Elliptical Galaxies: A Chandra Gas Gallery" Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Distance Estimate  About 192 million light years
Release Date  January 10, 2006