Small Galaxy with Clue to Massive Black Holes

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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:

·       Optical image including HCG068 galaxy group: Pan-STARRS
·       Optical image with X-ray inset: Pan-STARRS; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Dartmouth Coll./J. Parker & R. Hickox 

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Christopher Britt
Education review: Jim Manning
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A grid of photographs of celestial bodies moves up. A white line moves down and another across. Text, News from the universe. The text is above an image of Jupiter.
Text, January 20, 2022. Small Galaxy with Clue to Massive Black Holes. Several bright formations of light move to the left.
Text, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory detected large amounts of X-ray light from one galaxy in this image...
Dwarf galaxy M r k 4 62
A bright light at the bottom of a dark screen filled with spots of light is labeled MRK 4 62.
An inset X-ray image of a large blurry purple ball of light.
Text, The discovery could mean massive black holes are common in dwarf galaxies -- an important clue about the early evolution of huge black holes.
If dwarf galaxy black holes are common, early-universe black holes likely grew rapidly to become supermassive.
If dwarf galaxy black holes are rare, early black holes were likely huge from the time of their formation -- tens of thousands of Suns.
Astronomers expect dwarf galaxies to be the subject of future black hole research to help determine the answer.
This news was brought to you in part by the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge MA.