Intricate Dance of Black Holes

Galex_glx2015-02f_img01_1024

galex_glx2015-02f_img01 September 16th, 2015

Credit: Columbia University

This simulation helps explain an odd light signal thought to be coming from a close-knit pair of merging black holes, PG 1302-102, located 3.5 billion light-years away. The close-up view at right shows that the smaller of the two black holes gives off more light (left side of picture). While the black holes themselves don't emit light, they accumulate and heat up surrounding gas, which then radiates light. The reason the smaller black hole gives off more light is that it is orbiting farther from the center of mass and closer to the surrounding gas disk, allowing it to gather up most of the gas as it orbits. The result is that the more massive central black hole is starved of gas and doesn't glow as brightly.

As these black holes orbit around each other, they are thought to send out a varying light signal. The signal was detected by astronomers using telescopes on the ground and in space.

The simulation comes from Brian Farris of Columbia University and New York University, both in New York City.

The image comes courtesy of Zoltan Haiman, Columbia University.

Provider: Galaxy Evolution Explorer

Image Source: http://www.galex.caltech.edu/media/glx2015-02f_img01

Curator: Galaxy Evolution Explorer, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Public Domain

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Image Details

Image Type
Simulation
Galex_glx2015-02f_img01_128
 

Position Details

Position
RA = 0h 0m 0.0s
DEC = 0° 0’ 0.0”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.0 x 0.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Pisces
Galex_glx2015-02f_img01_1280
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ID
glx2015-02f_img01
Subject Category
Subject Name
Credits
Columbia University
Release Date
2015-09-16
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
http://www.galex.caltech.edu/media/glx2015-02f_img01
Type
Simulation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
-, -
Reference Dimension
-, -
Reference Pixel
-, -
Scale
-, -
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Galaxy Evolution Explorer
URL
http://www.galex.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Public Domain
Publisher
Galaxy Evolution Explorer
Publisher ID
galex
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/galex/glx2015-02f_img01
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2015-09-16T18:20:56Z
Metadata Version
1.2
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.