An international team of astrophysicists led by researchers in Penn State unveiled the above image at the American Astronomical Society meeting last week, which features the highest concentration of black holes ever seen.
By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD
Each of the colored points in the image represent X-ray emissions picked up by NASA’s orbital Chandra X-ray observatory, with the lowest energy X-rays being seen as red whereas the highest energy X-rays are a bright blue. Gas becomes hotter the closer it gets to the black hole’s event horizon (the so-called “point of no return”), producing the bright X-ray emissions observed by Chandra. As Penn astrophysicist Neil Brandt explained to Motherboard, approximately 70 percent of those points of light represent supermassive black holes and the rest are X-ray emissions from objects like stellar mass black holes, neutron stars, and clouds of hot gas.