NASA Finds Millions Of Black Holes In Deepest X-Ray Image

Posted: Jan 6 2017, 5:59am CST | by , Updated: Jan 6 2017, 6:23am CST , in Latest Science News


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NASA Finds Millions Of Black Holes in Deepest X-Ray Image
Chandra Deep Field-South: The deepest X-ray image, containing objects at a distance of nearly 13 billion light years. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/B.Luo et al.
  • This image contains the highest concentration of black holes ever seen, equivalent to 5,000 over the area of the full Moon.

Made with over 7 million seconds of Chandra observing time, this is the deepest X-ray image ever obtained. These data give astronomers the best look yet at the growth of black holes over billions of years soon after the Big Bang.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory spots a Black Hole bonanza. Astronomers are revealing some of the most mysterious and exciting X-ray spewing objects in the universe using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra's two latest findings presented this week at the 229th American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, Texas, are:

Astronomers Discover Powerful Cosmic Double Whamm

Deepest X-ray Image Ever Reveals Black Hole Treasure Trove

Astronomers take best look at the growth of black holes in an unparalleled image from Chandra. And this image is actually the deepest-ever X-ray image. This image is obtained from Chandra Deep Field-South. It is collected with about 7 million seconds, or eleven and a half weeks, of Chandra observing time.

According to NASA, "the central region of the image contains the highest concentration of supermassive black holes ever seen, equivalent to about 5,000 objects that would fit into the area of the full Moon and about a billion over the entire sky."

NASA Selects Mission to Study Black Holes, Cosmic X-ray Mysteries

NASA recently planned a mission that would help astronomers explore hidden objects, like Stellar, massive black holes, pulsars, and neutron stars. This is the first time NASA designed such mission to explore extreme objects in the space.

These objects affect the atmosphere in different ways, like black holes heat up the gases a lot. These gases release high energy radiations that can polarize vibrations in a certain direction.

The Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission will take 3 telescopes with cameras that can measure the polarization of these cosmic X-rays, helping scientists reply questions about a turbulent environment where gravitational, electric and magnetic fields are at extreme limits.

It’s not possible to take direct images of black holes and neutron stars, but through X-rays polarization we can find the physics of these extreme objects,said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He also said that NASA has always launched observatories in the Astrophysics Explorers Program with newly designed observational techniques. IXPE will create a new door for the astronomers to observe new objects.

NASA's Astrophysics Explorers Program asked for new proposals, and got 14 proposals of which it selected 3 missions by reviewing panel agency and scientists other than NASA. IXPE was considered the best mission for exploring extreme objects in the space.

The mission will launch in 2020, will cost $188 million, including the cost of the launch vehicle and post-launch operations and data analysis. Principal Investigator will be Martin Weisskopf of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who will lead the mission. Ball Aerospace in Broomfield, Colorado, will provide the spacecraft and mission integration. Whereas, an Italian Space Agency will contribute the polarization sensitive X-ray detectors, developed in Italy.

NASA's Explorers Program always tries to develop low cost mission. It has launched so far more than 90 missions, including Explorer 1 in 1958 that discovered the Van Allen radiation belts around the Earth, and the Cosmic Background Explorer mission that earned a Nobel Prize. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Explorers Program for the agency's Science Mission Directorate.

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