Powerful Black Hole Found Within Unconventional Galaxy Merger
An incredibly powerful supermassive black hole has been found at the center of a tiny galaxy that is merging with another larger galaxy, a new study shows.
NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has imaged a system known as Was 49. The system consists of a large disk galaxy called Was 49a that is colliding with a smaller dwarf galaxy called Was 49b, located about 26,000 light-years from the larger galaxy’s center.
Data from the NuSTAR mission, along with information from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, show luminous, high-energy X-rays shooting out from 49b’s galactic core, suggesting it hosts an active supermassive black hole that comprises more than 2 percent of the galaxy's entire mass, scientists say. [When Galaxies Collide: Photos of Great Galactic Crashes]