“Seeing” Black Holes

NuSTAR_IC342This picture of spiral galaxy IC 342 (aka Caldwell 5) has X-ray data from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR superimposed over a visible light image. The NuSTAR data are shown in magenta. The sources of the X-rays are black holes. These black holes appear much brighter than typical stellar-mass black holes, such as those found around our own galaxy, but they cannot be supermassive black holes, or they would have moved to the galaxy’s center. They appear to be intermediate in mass—or there may be some unknown process going on causing their extremely energetic state.

IC 342 lies 7 million light-years away in the consellation Camelopardalis.

Image Credit: NASA

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