Supermassive black holes are outgrowing their galaxies!
Over many years, astronomers have gathered data on the formation of stars in galaxies and the growth of supermassive black holes (that is, those with millions or billions the mass of the Sun) in their centers. These data suggested that the black holes and the stars in their host galaxies grow in tandem with each other. Now, findings from two independent groups of researchers indicate that the black holes in massive galaxies have grown much faster than in the less massive ones.
Using large amounts of data from our Chandra X-ray Observatory (@nasachandraxray
), the Hubble Space Telescope (@NASAHubble
) and other observatories, scientists studied the growth rate of black holes in galaxies at distances of 4.3 to 12.2 billion light years from Earth. They calculated the ratio between a supermassive black hole's growth rate and the growth rate of stars in its host galaxy.
A common idea is that this ratio is approximately constant for all galaxies. Instead, the researchers found that this ratio is much higher for more massive galaxies. For galaxies containing about 100 billion solar masses worth of stars, the ratio is about ten times higher than it is for galaxies containing about 10 billion solar masses worth of stars.
This image shows data from the Chandra Deep Field-South in optical and infrared light from the Hubble, and X-ray light from Chandra.
Credit: NASA/CXC/Penn. State/G. Yang et al & NASA/CXC/ICE/M. Mezcua et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI
#nasa #chandra #blackhole #science #astronomy #hubble #optical #infrared #xray #light #galaxies #galaxy #picoftheday #imageoftheday #space
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