Astronomers dig out hidden black holes with NASA's Chandra Telescope | Tech News

Astronomers dig out hidden black holes with NASA's Chandra Telescope

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory Telescope, astronomers have found out hundreds of previously hidden, or buried black holes.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jan 14 2023, 14:07 IST
NASA reveals 5 asteroids, including 260-foot rock, dashing towards Earth
NASA
1/5 Asteroid 2022 YZ2 - NASA has red-flagged an asteroid named Asteroid 2022 YZ2 due to its extremely close approach to the planet. The asteroid has a width of 260 feet, making it nearly as big as a building, and will make its closest approach to Earth on January 12 at a distance of 6.4 million kilometers per hour and is already on its way travelling at a speed of nearly 23714 kilometers per hour.  (Wikimedia Commons)
NASA
2/5 Asteroid 2022 YD5 - An asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 YD5 will make a close approach on January 12. This asteroid is nearly the size of an aircraft with a width of 150 feet. The Asteroid 2022 YD5 is expected to make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 3.1 million kilometers at a speed of 38184 kilometers per hour.  (Wikimedia Commons)
NASA
3/5 Asteroid 2022 YS5 – This asteroid, with a of 130 feet, will make its close trip to Earth on January 13 at a distance of nearly 5.9 million kilometers. The asteroid, known as Asteroid 2022 YS5, is rushing towards Earth slower than other asteroids at a speed of 21517 kilometers per hour.  (Pixabay)
NASA
4/5 Asteroid 2014 LJ – Another asteroid named Asteroid 2014 LJ is heading for Earth and will make a close approach on January 14 at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers. This asteroid is nearly the size of a bus with a width of 22 feet. NASA has revealed it is heading for Earth at a blistering speed of 21517 kilometers per hour. It will miss Earth at a distance of 1.8 million kilometers.  (Pixabay)
NASA
5/5 Asteroid 2022 YH3 – The fifth and largest asteroid, with a size of 280 feet, is named Asteroid 2022 YH3 and will be making its closest Earth approach on January 14. It will come as close as 7.2 million kilometers, according to NASA JPL. The asteroid is moving at a blistering speed of 58573 kilometer per hour (Pixabay)
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“It’s not every day that you can say you discovered a black hole,” said co-author Alyssa Cassity, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia. (NASA)

Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory Telescope, astronomers have found out hundreds of previously hidden, or buried black holes. This discovery is going to help astronomers provide a more accurate census of black holes in the universe.

The black holes in this new study are the supermassive variety that contain millions or even billions of times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers think that almost all large galaxies harbour giant black holes in their centres, only some of the black holes will be actively pulling in material that produce radiation, and some will be buried underneath dust and gas.

By combining data from the Chandra Source Catalogue and optical data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a team of astronomers was able to identify hundreds of black holes that had previously been hidden.

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The previously hidden black holes are in galaxies not previously identified to contain quasars, extremely bright objects with rapidly growing supermassive black holes.

NASA
These graphics show these XBONGs in X-rays from Chandra and optical light from SDSS. (NASA)
image caption
These graphics show these XBONGs in X-rays from Chandra and optical light from SDSS. (NASA)

Over the 40 years scientists have known about galaxies that look normal in optical light – with light from stars and gas but not the distinctive optical signatures of a quasar – but shine brightly in X-rays. They refer to these objects as “X-ray bright optically normal galaxies” or “XBONGs.”

They refer to these objects as “X-ray bright optically normal galaxies” or “XBONGs.” 817 XBONG candidates have been identified, which is more than ten times the number known before Chandra was in operation.

The large amount of data in the Chandra Source Catalogue made it possible to detect many XBONG candidates while further study revealed that about half of these XBONGs represent a population of previously hidden black holes.

After studying the amount of X-rays detected at different energies for each source, the team concluded that about half the XBONG candidates involve X-ray sources that are buried under thick gas because relatively small amounts of low- energy X-rays were detected.

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First Published Date: 14 Jan, 13:55 IST
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