NASA’s Chandra X-Ray observatory in orbit is racking up quite a record of groundbreaking discoveries this year. After enabling the verification of Dark Matter earlier this year, Chandra’s latest mission peered through interstellar dust and obscuration that have historically plagued visible light instruments to discover over 1000 Black Holes in a patch of the sky about the size of a paperback book held at arm’s length.
Each of the colored dots in the field below (taken in the constellation Bootes) is a direct image of a black hole that lies at the center of a remote galaxy (hence the name “Active Galactic Nuclei” [AGN]).
X-Ray astronomers are already all stirred up about the fact that the prevailing theories on Black Hole formation and light emission are now being called into question by this new data. In our latest theories, matter falling into Black Holes would emit light as it sheds angular momentum while falling into the hole, to result in a bright torus (donut) of orbiting matter.
Animation Published by: Goddard Space Flight Center
Date Published: April 30, 2001
Animation from Harvard’s Chandra center.
But Chandra’s latest survey doesn’t show the distribution of brightness we would expect from over 1000 donuts of orbiting material oriented randomly around 1000 Black Holes. Stay tuned while the astronomers figure out what is really going on!
Read all the details from the Chandra Web site, and learn more about Black Holes here.