Closest pair of supermassive black holes as seen by MUSE

Eso_potw2302c_1024

eso_potw2302c January 10th, 2023

Credit: ESO/Koss et al.

In this Picture of the Week we peer closer into the galaxy UGC 4211, where astronomers have discovered two supermassive black holes on the verge of merging, separated by just 750 lightyears — the closest to have been found to date and less than half of the previous record. They used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), of which ESO is a partner, and other telescopes to detect the bright light produced as the black holes engulf material in their vicinity. The image shown here was made using data from the MUSE instrument on ESO’s VLT in Chile. It shows emission from oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen in blue, green and red respectively. Red indicates areas of star formation, and the bright white central region indicates the presence of two supermassive black holes swallowing material from their surroundings.  Combining data from the VLT, ALMA and other telescopes, a team led by Michael Koss at Eureka Scientific in the US could identify these two black holes and study them in detail. These black holes likely found each other when their host galaxies collided and merged. Observing this system will help improve our understanding of how galaxies and their supermassive black holes grow as they merge. Alternative versions of this image Side-by-side comparison Interactive comparison Stellar image

Provider: European Southern Observatory

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw2302c/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, None, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
UGC 4211
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy > Component > Central Black Hole
Eso_potw2302c_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 8h 4m 46.4s
DEC = 10° 46’ 35.9”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
0.1 x 0.1 arcminutes
Constellation
Cancer

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Blue VLT (MUSE) Optical (OIII) 500.0 nm
Green VLT (MUSE) Optical (NII) 575.0 nm
Red VLT (MUSE) Optical (H-alpha) 656.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Blue
Green
Red
Eso_potw2302c_1280
×
ID
potw2302c
Subject Category
D.5.4.6  
Subject Name
UGC 4211
Credits
ESO/Koss et al.
Release Date
2023-01-10T06:00:00
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/potw2302c/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Very Large Telescope, Very Large Telescope, Very Large Telescope
Instrument
MUSE, MUSE, MUSE
Color Assignment
Blue, Green, Red
Band
Optical, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
OIII, NII, H-alpha
Central Wavelength
500, 575, 656
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
None, None, None
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
121.193271148, 10.776644507
Reference Dimension
641.0, 641.0
Reference Pixel
320.5, 320.5
Scale
-3.5390255739e-06, 3.5390255739e-06
Rotation
-0
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
https://www.eso.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
None
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
potw2302c
Metadata Date
2022-10-20T12:48:34+02:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

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There is no distance meta data in this image.

 

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