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Growing Black Holes in Star Clusters

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:

·       Composite image of galaxy NGC 1566. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Washington State Univ./V. Baldassare et al.; Visible-light: NASA/ESA/STScI
·       Galaxies NGC 1385, NGC 1566, NGC 3344, and NGC 6503. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Washington State Univ./V. Baldassare et al.; Visible-light: NASA/ESA/STScI
·       Composite image of galaxy NGC 3344. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Washington State Univ./V. Baldassare et al.; Visible-light: NASA/ESA/STScI
 
Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Kelly Lepo
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits
Transcript

(DESCRIPTION)
Stars against black outer space, blue, green, red, pink, orange, and purple nebulae, gas giants and galaxies.
 
(SPEECH)
[COSMIC MUSIC]
 
(DESCRIPTION)
Text, NEWS FROM THE UNIVERSE.
 
We look down at a spiral galaxy with a bright yellow core and two long arms of pink and brown dust with star clusters.
 
Text, APRIL 27, 2022. GROWING BLACK HOLES IN STAR CLUSTERS. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has found possible evidence for the creation of intermediate-mass black holes.
 
A roughly spiral galaxy with a square around a bright pink star cluster near the center. Text, N.G.C. 1385.
 
Text, An X-ray survey of over 100 galaxies shows 29 with evidence of small but growing black holes in dense star clusters at the galaxy core.
 
A two-armed spiral galaxy with a square around the core cluster. N.C.G. 1566. A pale white spiral galaxy with many arms and red star clusters with a square around the bright white cluster at the core. N.G.C. 3344.
 
Text, The black holes are likely growing rapidly by shredding stars with their immense gravity, adding the stars' mass to their own. The more stars nearby, and the faster they're moving, the more opportunity for black holes to "consume" them and grow.
 
We slowly close in on the intensely bright core of a spiral galaxy with two especially bright star clusters in the middle.
 
Text, This way of growing intermediate-mass black holes could be the step between black holes with the mass of a single star and the supermassive black holes at the heart of large galaxies.
 
This news was brought to you in part by the CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER IN CAMBRIDGE, M.A.