A Pair of Black Holes

CircinusThe magenta spots in this image show a couple of black holes in the Circinus galaxy—the supermassive black hole at its heart and a smaller one closer to the edge. The smaller one belongs to a class of objects called ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs. ULXs are black holes actively feeding off material drawn in from a partner star.

The ULX was spotted by NuSTAR which sees high-energy X-ray light. The magenta X-ray data in the image above come from the NuSTAR and are overlaid on a visible/infrared image from the Digitized Sky Survey.

The Circinus galaxy is located 13 million light-years away in the southern sky constellation Circinus.

Image Credit: NASA

Between Two Black Holes

Yesterday, I posted a video showing simulation of a binary pair of black holes orbiting one another.. This simulation shows a point of view between the two black holes. The black holes distort the view of the background stars, capturing their light to produce black hole silhouettes. A distinctive feature called a photon ring outlines the black holes. The background is a mosaic of the images covering the entire sky as observed by ESA’s Gaia mission.

Video Credit: NASA


Looking into a Black Hole

A supercomputer crunched the data used to make this animation which takes you to the inner zone of the accretion disk of a stellar-mass black hole. Gas is heated to over 10,000,000 °C as it spirals into the black hole glows in low-energy, soft X-rays. As the gas approaches the event horizon, its orbital motion nears the speed of light. Hard X-rays up to hundreds of times more powerful than those in the disk are generated in the corona, a region of tenuous and much hotter gas around the disk. Temperatures in the corona reach billions of degrees.

Video Credit: NASA