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Henize 2-10: A Surprisingly Close Look at the Early Cosmos
Henize 2-10
Henize 2-10
Henize 2-10

  • New data from Chandra and the Very Large Array suggest that black hole growth may precede the growth of bulges in some galaxies.

  • Henize 2-10 is a dwarf starburst galaxy about 30 million light years from Earth with properties similar to those in the early Universe.

  • X-ray and radio data indicate a black hole at the center of Henize 2-10 with a mass about one million times that of the Sun.

The combined observations from multiple telescopes of Henize 2-10, a dwarf starburst galaxy located about 30 million light years from Earth, has provided astronomers with a detailed new look at how galaxy and black hole formation may have occured in the early Universe. This image shows optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope in red, green and blue, X-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in purple, and radio data from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array in yellow. A compact X-ray source at the center of the galaxy coincides with a radio source, giving evidence for an actively growing supermassive black hole with a mass of about one million times that of the Sun (please roll your mouse over the image for the location of the black hole).

Stars are forming in Henize 2-10 at a prodigious rate, giving the star clusters in this galaxy their blue appearance. This combination of a burst of star formation and a massive black hole is analogous to conditions in the early Universe. Since Henize 2-10 does not contain a significant bulge of stars in its center, these results show that supermassive black hole growth may precede the growth of bulges in galaxies. This differs from the relatively nearby Universe where the growth of galaxy bulges and supermassive black holes appears to occur in parallel.

A paper describing these results was published online in Nature on January 9th, 2011 by Amy Reines and Gregory Sivakoff of the University of Virginia, Kelsey Johnson of the University of Virginia and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, Virginia and Crystal Brogan also of NRAO in Virgina.

Fast Facts for Henize 2-10:
Credit  X-ray (NASA/CXC/Virginia/A.Reines et al); Radio (NRAO/AUI/NSF); Optical (NASA/STScI)
Release Date  January 10, 2011
Scale  Image is 25 arcsec across
Category  Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies, Black Holes
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 08h 36m 15.15s | Dec -26° 24´ 34.00"
Constellation  Pyxis
Observation Date  Mar 23, 2001
Observation Time  5 hours 33 min
Obs. ID  2075
Instrument  ACIS
Color Code  X-ray (Purple); Radio (Yellow); Optical (Red, Green, Blue)
Distance Estimate  About 30 million light years
distance arrow
Visitor Comments (4)

Those nuclei that measure in the millions and billions of solar masses are close knitted collections of many black holes.
In this case there are one sizable nucleus and several smaller ones. Accounts for the high production of stars and their seemingly random locations.

Posted by kopernik on Thursday, 03.15.12 @ 10:55am

The Plasma Focus interpretation will be vindicated and the Black Hole Theory will be regulated to the dustbin of history.

Posted by Ken S on Friday, 05.13.11 @ 23:46pm

The above data indicate that either the Big Bang model is wrong or the above data received are interpreted wrongly. I prefer the first one.

Posted by B. N. Sreenath on Saturday, 01.15.11 @ 04:05am

This is very interesting and educational. Seeing a Galaxy forming and coming into being.
Something new learned about Black Holes. Stephen Hawking must be mentally leaping up and down.
Marvin L. S.

Posted by Marvin L S on Monday, 01.10.11 @ 19:02pm

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