June 19, 2008

Multi-wavelength Images of M81

Beginning with optical light, we then see how M81 looks through ultraviolet and infrared eyes before seeing Chandra’s X-ray image. In the center of M81 is a black hole that is about 70 million times more massive than the Sun, and generates energy and radiation as it pulls gas in the central region of the galaxy inwards at high speed. When astronomers compared these data with models for much smaller-scale black holes, they found a similar distribution of optical, radio, and X-ray light. This implies that black holes – either big or little – devour material in the same way. Credit: NASA/CXC

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