Supermassive Black Hole in RX J1532: the Destroyer of Worlds

Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes to reveal one of the most powerful black holes known. The supermassive black hole is in the center of a galaxy cluster named RX J1532.9+3021 located about 3.9 billion light years from Earth. The image here is a composite of X-ray data from Chandra revealing hot gas in the cluster in purple and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope showing galaxies in yellow. Supersonic jets generated by the black hole have drilled into the hot gas and pushed it aside, forming the large cavities that can be seen on either side of the central galaxy (mouse over the image for a labeled version).

From the NASA website:

Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and a suite of other telescopes to reveal one of the most powerful black holes known. The black hole has created enormous structures in the hot gas surrounding it and prevented trillions of stars from forming. The black hole is in a galaxy cluster named RX J1532.9+3021 (RX J1532 for short), located about 3.9 billion light years from Earth.

The SMBH (supermassive black hole) is located in a bright and massive elliptical galaxy at the centre of the cluster. The SMBH is very huge, even for supermassive black holes standards. It is responsible for the shock heating of the intergalactic medium around the cluster, hampering new star formation.

It might seem counterintuitive but for stars to form the primordial birth cloud has to be cool enough for the gas to condense. Only then the collapsing process can begin and eventually trigger nuclear fusion.

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