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Cavities at the Heart of a Galaxy Cluster

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
Video imagery:

·       Chandra image: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Bologna/F. Ubertos
·       Animation of supermassive black hole jets in cluster: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart
·       Animation of black hole(s) and jet(s): NASA/CXC/A. Hobart

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Quyen Hart
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits
Transcript

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Various galaxies, nebulas, planets and star patterns depicted in colorful photos. Text, News from the Universe.
 
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Cavities at the heart of a galaxy cluster. January 6, 2022.
 
Scientists have found four enormous cavities at the core of a galaxy cluster using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.
 
An indigo background features a sideways figure 8 of white light. The two dots in the 8 are black, and there is a black dot above and below the 8.
 
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Text, Scientists think they are the result of eruptions near a supermassive black hole in the middle of the massive central galaxy. The four black dots or cavities are circled in white.
 
Text, Matter flies away from the black hole as jets in opposing directions, blowing huge cavities in the cluster's hot gas. In an animation, ripples of orange and black emanate out from a central beam of white light with a black center. Text, One pair of opposing jets is common. But why are there two pairs of cavities in the gas?
 
Animation. Two beams of white light emanate in opposite directions from an orange glowing center.
 
Text, There could be a pair of supermassive black holes that created the pair of cavities. Four cloudlike bursts jet out from the center of an image with two black dots.
 
Text, Or, the cavities are a result of one black hole that is changing direction fairly quickly. One black dot in the center of the screen has two cloudlike bursts that jet out, then pivot 90 degrees and continue.
 
Text, Astronomers plan to use high resolution radio data of the region to try to solve the mystery.
 
This news was brought to you by Chandra X-Ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.