Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Physics News: NASA's Chandra Satellite Discover the Nearest Black Hole

ScienceDaily (Nov. 15, 2010) — Astronomers use NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence of the youngest black hole known to exist in our cosmic neighborhood. Black hole of 30 years provides a unique opportunity to observe the object type that develops from the initial phase.

Black holes may help scientists better understand how massive stars explode, whether the remaining arrives in the form of a black hole or neutron star, and how many black holes that exist in our galaxy and other galaxies.
The object of this 30-year-old is a remnant of SN 1979C (a supernova in the galaxy M100 about 50 million light years from Earth). Data from the Chandra (NASA's Swift satellite), the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and the German Rosat observatory revealed that there are bright sources of X-rays which remained stable during the observation done since 1995 until 2007. This indicates that the object is a black hole which is formed either by the material that interested in it that come from supernovae or binary companion.
"If our interpretation is correct, then this is the closest example of the birth of a black hole that can be observed," said Daniel Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., who led the research.
Scientists think SN 1979C was first discovered by an amateur astronaut in 1979 and formed when the collapse of a star about 20 times bigger than the sun. Many new black hole in the universe have been detected much earlier in the form of gamma-ray burst / Gamma-ray bursts (GRB).
However, SN 1979C is different because it is much more closely and included in the class was not associated with GRB supernovae. Existing theory predicts that most of the black hole in the universe should be formed when the core of the star sebauah GRB destroyed and not produced.
"It's probably the first observation of how black holes formed," said co-author Abraham Loeb, who is also from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "However, it is very difficult to detect this type of birth of a black hole because it requires X-ray observations during several decades (decades) for all this. "
The idea of observing a black hole about 30 years old, are in accordance with the facts of recent theoretical. In 2005, the theory presented in that light optical light from a supernova is powered by a jet from a black hole that can not penetrate the hydrogen to form a GRB star. These results were seen in the observations of SN 1979C is so in accordance with the theory.
Although the evidence points to a newly formed black hole in SN 1979C, another interesting possibility is that a young neutron star that spins faster with a strong solar wind of high energy particles can affect the X-ray emission. This will make objects in SN 1979C as a "pulsar wind nebula" and the youngest neutron star known. Pulsar is a source of radio waves in space. The most famous example is the Crab Pulsar as a pulsar wind nebula is brightest around 950 years old.
"This is very useful to see how the consistency of some of the most advanced telescope in space, such as Chandra, who can help solve this case," said Jon Morse, Astrophysics Division at NASA's Science Mission Directorate.
The results of this study will appear in the journal New Astronomy, written Patnaude, Loeb, and Christine Jones of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in HuntsvilleAla, managing programs for the institute Chandra Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from Cambridge.
For more information about Chandra, including images and other multimedia, visit and