Star cluster surrounds wayward black hole in cannibal galaxy ESO 243-49 (labelled)

This spectacular edge-on galaxy, called ESO 243-49, is home to an intermediate-mass black hole that may have been purloined from a cannibalised dwarf galaxy. The black hole, with an estimated mass of 20 000 Suns, lies above the galactic plane. This is an unlikely place for such a massive back hole to exist, unless it belonged to a small galaxy that was gravitationally torn apart by ESO 243-49.

The circle identifies a unique X-ray source that pinpoints the black hole. The X-rays are believed to be radiation from a hot accretion disc around the black hole. The blue light not only comes from a hot accretion disc, but also from a cluster of hot young stars that formed around the black hole. The galaxy is 290 million light-years from Earth. Hubble can’t resolve the stars individually because the suspected cluster is too far away. Their presence is inferred from the colour and brightness of the light coming from the black hole’s location.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and S. Farrell (University of Sydney, Australia and University of Leicester, UK)

About the Image

Id:heic1203a
Type:Observation
Release date:15 February 2012, 16:45
Related releases:heic1203
Size:1381 x 1063 px

About the Object

Name:ESO 243-49, ESO 243-49 HLX-1
Type:• Local Universe : Star : Grouping : Cluster
• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
• X - Galaxies Images/Videos
Distance:300 million light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
C
390 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
775 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

Image Formats

Large JPEG
875.8 KB
Screensize JPEG
280.8 KB

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