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4C37.43: Chandra Finds Evidence for Quasar Ignition March 23, 2006

Posted by jtintle in Chandra X-ray Observatory, Deep Space, Space Fotos.
4C 37.43
Credit: Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray inset: NASA/CXC/U.Hawaii/A.Stockton et al.
JPEG (351.4 kb) Tiff (24 MB) PS (2.8 MB)

An artist’s illustration depicts a quasar in the center of a galaxy that has turned on and is expelling gas at high speeds in a galactic superwind. Clouds of hot, X-ray producing gas detected by Chandra around the quasars 4C37.43 (shown in the inset) and 3C249.1, provide strong evidence for such superwinds.

The X-ray features seen at five, six, ten and eleven o’clock in the 4C37.43 image are located tens of thousands of light years from the central supermassive black hole that powers the quasar. They are likely due to shock waves in the superwind.

Chandra X-ray Image of 4C37.43
Chandra X-ray Image of 4C37.43 with Labels

Mergers of galaxies are a possible cause for the ignition, or turn-on, of quasars. Computer simulations show that a galactic merger drives gas toward the central region where it triggers a burst of star formation and provides fuel for the growth of a central black hole.

The inflow of gas into the black hole releases tremendous energy, and a quasar is born. The power output of the quasar dwarfs that of the surrounding galaxy and pushes gas out of the galaxy in a galactic superwind.

Over a period of about 100 million years, the superwind will drive most of the gas away from the central regions of the galaxy, quenching both star formation and further supermassive black hole growth. The quasar phase will end and the galaxy will settle down to a relatively quiet life.


1. Dr. Kortvelyessy - March 25, 2006

A galactic “superwind” cannot exist if it is emitted by a black hole or not – similar to NGC 3079. Its temperature of millions of Kelvin is too cold to get an escape velocity to leave its galaxy. Why can we it not see at this high temperature? Why is it filamentary?
Suggested answer: the “superwind” is no wind. It is positively charged matter which is emitted by the deeper positively charged matter. It looks for the galaxy-core to leave its galaxy – where gravity is maximum, but the magnetic axis is there and the ions follow this field.

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