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News Release 23 of 50

June 19, 2014 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-30

Swiftly Moving Gas Streamer Eclipses Supermassive Black Hole

June 19, 2014: Active galaxies host supermassive black holes in their cores. The intense gravity of the black hole creates a turbulent cauldron of extreme physics. These galaxies, such as NGC 5548 in this study, are too far away for the plasma fireworks to be directly imaged. Therefore astronomers use X-ray and ultraviolet spectroscopy to infer what is happening near the black hole. The new twist is the detection of a clumpy stream of gas that has swept in front of the black hole, blocking its radiation. This deep look into a black hole's environment yields clues to the behavior of active galaxies.

The science team consists of J. Kaastra (SRON Utrecht/Universiteit Utrecht/Leiden University, the Netherlands), G. Kriss (STScI/JHU, Baltimore, Maryland, USA), M. Cappi (INAF-IASF Bologna, Italy), M. Mehdipour (SRON Utrecht, the Netherlands/University College of London, Holmbury St. Mary, UK), P.-O. Petrucci (University Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, France), K. Steenbrugge (Universidad Católica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile/University of Oxford, UK), N. Arav (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA), E. Behar (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel), S. Bianchi (Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy), R. Boissay (University of Geneva, Switzerland), G. Branduardi-Raymont (MSSL/University College of London, Holmbury St. Mary, UK), C. Chamberlain (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA), E. Costantini (SRON Utrecht, the Netherlands), J. Ely (STScI, Baltimore, Maryland, USA), J. Ebrero (SRON Utrecht, the Netherlands/ESAC, Spain), L. Di Gesu (SRON Utrecht, the Netherlands), F. Harrison (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), S. Kaspi (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel), J. Malzac (Université de Toulouse/CNRAS, France), B. De Marco (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany), G. Matt (Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy), P. Nandra (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany), S. Paltani (University of Geneva, Switzerland), R. Person (St. Jorioz, France), B. Peterson (Ohio State University, Columbus, USA), C. Pinto (University of Cambridge, UK), G. Ponti (Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany), F. Pozo Nuñez (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany), A. De Rosa (INAF/IAPS, Roma, Italy), H. Seta (Rikkyo University, Tokyo, Japan), F. Ursini (University of Grenoble, CNRS, France), C. de Vries (SRON Utrecht, the Netherlands), D. Walton (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA), and M. Whewell (MSSL/University College of London, Holmbury St. Mary, UK).

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Artwork Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Kaastra (SRON, Utrecht, the Netherlands)