NRAO: Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash

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NRAO: Two Supermassive Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash

Post by bystander » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:51 pm

The Turbulent Life of Two Supermassive
Black Holes Caught in a Galaxy Crash

National Radio Astronomy Observatory | ALMA | 2020 Jan 05

ALMA sees material around two growing supermassive black holes in unprecedented detail

An international team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to create the most detailed image yet of the gas surrounding two supermassive black holes in a merging galaxy.

400 million light-years away from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, two galaxies are crashing into each other and forming a galaxy we know as NGC 6240. This peculiarly-shaped galaxy has been observed many times before, as it is relatively close by. But NGC 6240 is complex and chaotic. The collision between the two galaxies is still ongoing, bringing along in the crash two growing supermassive black holes that will likely merge as one larger black hole.

To understand what is happening within NGC 6240, astronomers want to observe the dust and gas surrounding the black holes in detail, but previous images have not been sharp enough to do that. New ALMA observations have increased the resolution of the images by a factor of ten – showing for the first time the structure of the cold gas in the galaxy, even within the sphere of influence of the black holes. ...

How to Fuel an AGN: Mapping Circumnuclear Gas in NGC 6240 with ALMA ~ Anne M. Medling et al The Molecular Gas in the NGC 6240 Merging Galaxy System
at the Highest Spatial Resolution
~ Ezequiel Treister et al
  • accepted by Astrophysical Journal (preprint)
Last edited by bystander on Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Added ALMA link
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