NASA's NuSTAR catches black holes in galaxy web

Jan 08, 2013 by Whitney Clavin & J. Harrington
This new view of spiral galaxy IC 342, also known as Caldwell 5, includes data from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. High-energy X-ray data from NuSTAR have been translated to the color magenta, and superimposed on a visible-light view highlighting the galaxy and its star-studded arms. NuSTAR is the first orbiting telescope to take focused pictures of the cosmos in high-energy X-ray light; previous observations of this same galaxy taken at similar wavelengths blurred the entire object into one pixel. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS

(Phys.org)—NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, set its X-ray eyes on a spiral galaxy and caught the brilliant glow of two black holes lurking inside.

The new image is being released Monday along with NuSTAR's view of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, at the meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

"These new images showcase why NuSTAR is giving us an unprecedented look at the cosmos," said Lou Kaluzienski, NuSTAR program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington. "With NuSTAR's greater sensitivity and imaging capability, we're getting a wealth of new information on a wide array of in the high-energy X-ray portion of the ."

Launched last June, NuSTAR is the first orbiting telescope with the ability to focus high-energy X-ray light. It can view objects in considerably greater detail than previous missions operating at similar wavelengths. Since launch, the NuSTAR team has been fine-tuning the telescope, which includes a mast the length of a school bus connecting the mirrors and detectors.

This new view of the historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, located 11,000 light-years away, was taken by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. Blue indicates the highest energy X-ray light, where NuSTAR has made the first resolved image ever of this source. Red and green show the lower end of NuSTAR's energy range, which overlaps with NASA's high-resolution Chandra X-ray Observatory. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DSS

The mission has looked at a range of extreme, high-energy objects already, including black holes near and far, and the incredibly dense cores of dead stars. In addition, NuSTAR has begun black hole searches in the inner region of the and in distant in the universe.

Among the telescope's targets is the IC342, also known as Caldwell 5, featured in one of the two new images. This galaxy lies 7 million light-years away in the constellation Camelopardalis (the Giraffe). Previous X-ray observations of the galaxy from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed the presence of two blinding black holes, called ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs).

How ULXs can shine so brilliantly is an ongoing mystery in astronomy. While these black holes are not as powerful as the at the hearts of galaxies, they are more than 10 times brighter than the stellar-mass black holes peppered among the stars in our own galaxy. Astronomers think ULXs could be less common intermediate-mass black holes, with a few thousand times the mass of our sun, or smaller stellar-mass black holes in an unusually bright state. A third possibility is that these black holes don't fit neatly into either category.

"High-energy X-rays hold a key to unlocking the mystery surrounding these objects," said Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "Whether they are massive black holes, or there is new physics in how they feed, the answer is going to be fascinating."

In the image, the two bright spots that appear entangled in the arms of the IC342 galaxy are the black holes. High-energy X-ray light has been translated into the color magenta, while the galaxy itself is shown in visible light.

"Before NuSTAR, high-energy X-ray pictures of this galaxy and the two would be so fuzzy that everything would appear as one pixel," said Harrison.

The second image features the well-known, historical supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, located 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. The color blue indicates the highest-energy X-ray light seen by NuSTAR, while red and green signify the lower end of NuSTAR's energy range. The blue region is where the shock wave from the supernova blast is slamming into material surrounding it, accelerating particles to nearly the speed of light. As the particles speed up, they give off a type of light known as synchrotron radiation. NuSTAR will be able to determine for the first time how energetic the particles are, and address the mystery of what causes them to reach such great speeds.

"Cas A is the poster child for studying how massive stars explode and also provides us a clue to the origin of the high-energy particles, or cosmic rays, that we see here on Earth," said Brian Grefenstette of Caltech, a lead researcher on the observations. "With NuSTAR, we can study where, as well as how, particles are accelerated to such ultra-relativistic energies in the remnant left behind by the supernova explosion."

Explore further: Witnessing the early growth of a giant

More information: For more information about NuSTAR and to view the new images, visit: www.nasa.gov/nustar .

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cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (13) Jan 08, 2013
The synchrotron radiation is being created in the "bow shock" of Cas A because the "bow shock" is in fact a plasma double layer (DL), and those particles are being accelerated in the resultant electric field. A better understanding of plasma physics would do these researchers well, many of the observations wouldn't be quite so surprising.

A third possibility is that these black holes don't fit neatly into either category.

And a fourth possibility is that it is NOT a black hole at all, but just another DL creating the synchrotron radiation we should expect from such a phenomenon. We can see the dogma of the current paradigm when the ONLY possibilities are various forms of the same hypothetical thing.
Q-Star
2 / 5 (8) Jan 08, 2013
is in fact a plasma double layer


Plasma, blah, blah, plasma, blah, blah, and oh yeah, I almost forgot,,,, plasma.

A better understanding of plasma physics would do these researchers well


Plasma, blah, blah, plasma, blah, blah, and oh yeah, I almost forgot,,,, plasma.

A third possibility is that these black holes don't fit neatly into either category.


But I bet it has something to do with: Plasma, blah, blah, plasma, blah, blah, and oh yeah, I almost forgot,,,, plasma.
flashgordon
5 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2013
I'm surprised the NuStar people havn't tried to find intermediate black holes in our own galaxy; then again, if there were any, wouldn't we have detected them by now?

It will further be interesting to see if NuStar can detect hundreds of thousands of black holes swarming our galaxy; or, could we conclude that maybe black hole productin by means of supernova is not so easy as one would imagine?
Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Jan 08, 2013
The synchrotron radiation is being created in the "bow shock" of Cas A because the "bow shock" is in fact a plasma double layer (DL), and those particles are being accelerated in the resultant electric field. A better understanding of plasma physics would do these researchers well, many of the observations wouldn't be quite so surprising.

A third possibility is that these black holes don't fit neatly into either category.

And a fourth possibility is that it is NOT a black hole at all, but just another DL creating the synchrotron radiation we should expect from such a phenomenon. We can see the dogma of the current paradigm when the ONLY possibilities are various forms of the same hypothetical thing.


And just exactly what is it, cd, that gives rise to this particular "DL" structure?

The whole World awaits your answer to this mystery.

yep
2 / 5 (8) Jan 09, 2013
Funny how Black Holes used to be so powerful not even light could escape now they are like disco balls. Maybe black holes are BS huh? Except if your were taught that they exist and were told most of you life they were true you would believe even if they were falsified because as the brain gets older it becomes rigid in it's process. Plasma, Z pinch, double layers all that blah blah makes a hell of a lot more sense then the currently excepted paradigm of big bang dark matter black hole malarkey.
The whole world ought to pull its head out and read a little bit about Andre-Marie Ampere who knew over two hundred years ago about parallel currents and Birkeland who expounded these ideas into space where these field aligned currents have been named after him. Now with the world having its head out it may begin to wrap it's mind around Langmuir and Alfven. Once that is done choke down some Marklund Convection and you may have a glimmer of what gives rise to this particular "DL" structure.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 09, 2013


And just exactly what is it, cd, that gives rise to this particular "DL" structure?

The whole World awaits your answer to this mystery.


There is a lot here, only problem is you have to read it.

http://ntrs.nasa....0655.pdf
Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Jan 09, 2013


And just exactly what is it, cd, that gives rise to this particular "DL" structure?

The whole World awaits your answer to this mystery.

Oh, boy --spawn of the EU!

Cropping up like mushrooms on cow pats.

It will really be cool when you twits come to understand that your magic bullet theory does not and cannot explain it all.

In the meantime, please have the common decency to rein in your zealotry, and at least try to frame your know-it-all as an alternative hypothesis, rather than established fact.

Caliban
5 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2013


And just exactly what is it, cd, that gives rise to this particular "DL" structure?

The whole World awaits your answer to this mystery.


There is a lot here, only problem is you have to read it.

http://ntrs.nasa....0655.pdf


No thanks are due you, cd.

Throwing an article onto the table that has merely been scanned into the NASA reference library as supplementary material that might be of some use at some time DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN ANSWER TO MY QUESTION.

I am not interested in your appeal to authority.

Just answer the question, ANSWER MAN.

Or, alternatively, shut yer cake hole.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2013
I'm surprised the NuStar people havn't tried to find intermediate black holes in our own galaxy; then again, if there were any, wouldn't we have detected them by now?

The problem with looking at our own galaxy is that we're in it. Stuff is in the way.

Looking at other galaxies is MUCH easier.
yep
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2013
Who ever said all was known. Plasma theory just makes more sense than big bang black hole dark matter BS. We have the instruments in space that are already telling us are perspective is skewed, but we have so much invested in our belief system we do not want to give it up. Like dinosaurs how many years did it take to realize they never went extinct, but their decedents became birds. In the past all we had was what we could see, now we can see from the radio to the gamma rays. Mushrooms...Stuff some Terence Mckenna in your own pie hole and wash it down with some John Allegro and then chew on that Z pinch cake which is the answer you keep asking for. Z pinch is what creates suns and your so called black holes which ought to be changed to magenta disco balls. Do not fret the earth was once flat for some people to.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2013
I am not interested in your appeal to authority.

Just answer the question, ANSWER MAN.

Or, alternatively, shut yer cake hole.

We don't have to reinvent the wheel here, Alfven covers it just fine.
Caliban
5 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2013
I am not interested in your appeal to authority.

Just answer the question, ANSWER MAN.

Or, alternatively, shut yer cake hole.

We don't have to reinvent the wheel here, Alfven covers it just fine.


Well, there we have it.

Obviously, you don't understand the mechanics of the very alttheory you assert is the answer to all the cosmological mysteries of the universe.

Kind of sad, really.

Later, tater.

cantdrive85
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2013


Well, there we have it.

Obviously, you don't understand the mechanics of the very alttheory you assert is the answer to all the cosmological mysteries of the universe.

Kind of sad, really.

Later, tater.


Right... The validity of the theory (for you) is based on whether I can explain it to you in a thousand words or less on Phys.org. Why exactly does that have anything to do with anything? What would my opinion matter to you if you won't even acknowledge this peer-reviewed paper written by a Nobel Laureate?

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." Max Planck

I can tell by your responses you're too old to change your thinking, however, it shouldn't be long for the alternative. I think others such as Q share your affliction.
Caliban
5 / 5 (4) Jan 10, 2013


Well, there we have it.

Obviously, you don't understand the mechanics of the very alttheory you assert is the answer to all the cosmological mysteries of the universe.

Kind of sad, really.

Later, tater.


Right... The validity of the theory (for you) is based on whether I can explain it to you in a thousand words or less on Phys.org. Why exactly does that have anything to do with anything? What would my opinion matter to you if you won't even acknowledge this peer-reviewed paper written by a Nobel Laureate?

[...]

I can tell by your responses you're too old to change your thinking, however, it shouldn't be long for the alternative. I think others such as Q share your affliction.


And, as I just finished pointing out, I can tell from your comment that you are a mere fanbandwagonboy of the theory du jour.

If you understand the mechanics, it shouldn't be any problem for you to explain them, and with relative concision.

Outsider "cool" doesn't equate with wisdom.

yep
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2013
When you go to the doctor does he pull out the black hole machine to take an X-ray image? The x-ray is electrical in nature. These Magenta Disco balls fire off x-rays like clockwork, they are pulses, and definitely not to a black hole beat. These high energy flux emissions in non thermal regions are " electromagmetic plasmoids" Just like the high-density energy phenomenon in a laboratory. It is dense plasma focus on a grand scale.They occur when Birkland filaments align with the ambient magnetic field. The mistake of the astrophysicists is to attribute mass to a quantity of matter. In the powerful magnetic field of a plasmoid, charged particles are constrained. Like particle accelerators the apparent masses become enormous as they approach the speed of light. Gamma rays are also coming out of our galactic center with energies in the tens of trillions of electron volts as that plasmoid is not just a Magenta Disco ball but a galactic nucleus of an intergalactic circuit.