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How to Build a Supermassive Black HoleNASA astronomer Kim Weaver has got that sinking feeling. You know, it's that unsettling notion you get when you sift through your X-ray data and, to your surprise, find mid-sized black holes sinking toward the center of a galaxy, where they merge with others to form a single supermassive black hole. Could such a thing be true? These would be the largest mergers since America On Line bought Time-Warner, and perhaps even more violent. The process would turn a starburst galaxy inside out, making it more like a quasar host galaxy. Using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Weaver saw a hint of this fantastic process in a relatively nearby starburst galaxy named NGC 253 in the constellation Sculptor. She noticed that starburst galaxies - those gems set aglow in a colorful life cycle of hyperactive star birth, death, and renewal - seem to have a higher concentration of mid-mass black holes compared to other galaxies.
Document ID
Document Type
Wanjek, Christopher
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Space Science Reference Guide, 2nd Edition
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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