Supermassive black holes found at the centre of galaxies normally stifle star formation, keeping gases too warm for stars to form.
But a weakened black hole in the centre of the Phoenix Cluster, in the southern hemisphere constellation of Phoenix, is believed to be not just allowing but boosting star formation at the cluster’s heart – the first clear indication that black holes can enhance cooling.
This image is a composite using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Karl Jansky Very Large Array.
X-ray data from Chandra shows hot gas in purple, while optical data from Hubble reveals cooler gas filaments at the centre.
Observatories Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, Karl Jansky Very Large Array
Release date 18 November 2019
Credit X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/M.McDonald et al; Radio: NRAO/VLA; Optical: NASA/STScI