Wednesday, May 9, 2007

black hole eclipse

A black hole is not the first thing to come in one's mind in the list of eclipsable things. Nonetheless, Chandra X-Ray Telescope recorded such an "serendipitous" event. X-Ray photons released from the superheated material disk around the supermassive black hole were blocked by a passing dense cloud of gas. This allowed astronomers to measure the size of the material disk.
The X-Ray insert in the picture contains the Chandra image with the black hole appearing as a bright spot in the center, while the optical image was captured by the European Space Observatory Very Large Telescope.
Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/INAF/Risaliti Optical: ESO/VLT

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