Pointing X-ray Eyes at our Resident Supermassive Black Hole

Nustar_nustar121023a_1024

nustar_nustar121023a October 23rd, 2012

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, has captured these first, focused views of the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy in high-energy X-ray light. The background image, taken in infrared light, shows the location of our Milky Way's humongous black hole, called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short. NuSTAR is the first telescope to be able to focus high-energy X-rays, giving astronomers a new tool for probing extreme objects such as black holes.

In the main image, the brightest white dot is the hottest material located closest to the black hole, and the surrounding pinkish blob is hot gas, likely belonging to a nearby supernova remnant. The time series at right shows a flare caught by NuSTAR over an observing period of two days in July 2012; the middle panel shows the peak of the flare, when the black hole was consuming and heating matter to temperatures up to 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (100 million degrees Celsius).

The main image is composed of light seen at four different X-ray energies. Blue light represents energies of 10 to 30 kiloelectron volts (keV); green is 7 to 10 keV; and red is 3 to 7 keV. The time series shows light with energies of 3 to 30 keV.

The background image of the central region of our Milky Way was taken at shorter infrared wavelengths by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

Image Source:

Curator: NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, Pasadena, CA,

Image Use Policy: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/

View Options

Image Details

Image Type
Collage
Object Name
Sagittarius A* Sgr A*
Subject - Milky Way
Galaxy » Component » Center/Core
Galaxy » Component » Central Black Hole

Distance

Universescale1
25,900 light years
Nustar_nustar121023a_128
 

Position Details

Position (FK5)
RA = 17h 45m 39.0s
DEC = -29° 0’ 34.3”
Orientation
North is 28.0° CCW
Field of View
12.3 x 12.3 arcminutes
Constellation
Sagittarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_red NuSTAR ( ) X-ray ( ) 248.0 pm
Arrow_left_green NuSTAR X-ray 145.9 pm
Arrow_left_blue NuSTAR X-ray 62.0 pm
Spectrum_xray1w
Arrow_top_red
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_blue
Nustar_nustar121023a_1280
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ID
nustar121023a
Subject Category
B.5.4.9   B.5.4.6  
Subject Name
Sagittarius A*, Sgr A*
Credits
NASA/JPL-Caltech
Lightyears
25,900
Redshift
Reference Url
Type
Collage
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
NuSTAR, NuSTAR, NuSTAR
Instrument
Color Assignment
Red, Green, Blue
Band
X-ray, X-ray, X-ray
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
0.248, 0.1459, 0.062
Start Time
2012-07-20T02:11, 2012-07-20T02:11, 2012-07-20T02:11
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
FK5
Equinox
2000
Reference Value
266.41251, -29.00952
Reference Dimension
300, 300
Reference Pixel
106, 200
Scale
-0.0006828, 0.0006828
Rotation
28
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
NuSTAR: Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
URL
http://www.nustar.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
Country
Rights
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
Publisher
Publisher ID
nustar
Resource ID
Resource URL
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2018-01-19T23:19:45Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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Universescalefull
25,900 light years