Mysterious Dark Rays

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Ann
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Mysterious Dark Rays

Post by Ann » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:30 am

ESA/Hubble

Space Telescope wrote:

Some of the most stunning views of our sky occur at sunset, when sunlight pierces the clouds, creating a mixture of bright and dark rays formed by the clouds’ shadows and the beams of light scattered by the atmosphere. Astronomers studying the nearby galaxy IC 5063 are tantalized by a similar effect in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. In this case, a collection of narrow bright rays and dark shadows is seen beaming out of the blazingly bright center of the active galaxy, shooting across at least 36,000 light-years.

Astronomers have traced the rays back to the galaxy’s core, the location of an active supermassive black hole. The black hole is feeding on infalling material, producing a powerful gusher of light from superheated gas near it. Although the researchers have developed several plausible theories for the lightshow, the most intriguing idea suggests that the shadows are being cast into space by an inner tube-shaped ring, or torus, of dusty material surrounding the black hole.

IC 5063 resides 156 million light-years from Earth.
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Ann
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Re: Mysterious Dark Rays

Post by Ann » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:49 am

STScI-H-p2058b-d-1280x720[1].png
Dark crepuscular rays in galaxy IC 5063.
Source: https://hubblesite.org/image/4779.
















Dark crepuscular rays form when light is blocked unevenly by a non-smooth source. In the case of IC 5063, the source blocking the light is believed to be the torus or material, the accretion disk, surrounding the central supermassive black hole. The accretion disk is irregularly shaped.

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bystander
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Re: Mysterious Dark Rays

Post by bystander » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:14 pm

Sorry, Ann, didn't see this before posting the ESA Hubble Picture of the Week in Found Images.

See my post for links to articles from NASA and CfA about this unusual phenomenon.
bystander wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:50 pm
Mysterious Dark Rays (IC 5063)
ESA Hubble Picture of the Week | 2020 Nov 23

Black Hole's Dust Ring May Be Casting Shadows from Heart of a Galaxy
NASA | GSFC | STScI | HubbleSite | 2020 Npv 19

"Strange Rays" Crowd Sourced on Social Media Shed Light on Black Hole Illumination
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | 2020 Nov 19

Crepuscular Rays from the Highly Inclined Active Galactic Nucleus in IC 5063 ~ W. Peter Maksym et al
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