M83- Black hole outburst observed by Chandra
Scientists using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory have seen a remarkable outburst of X-rays from an old Black hole inside the M83 Spiral Galaxy.
The photo on the top is an optical image of spiral galaxy M83 from the Very Large Telescope in Chile, and the pinky cutout to the right is a composite of the optical and X-ray Photos. The data shows a massive increase in X-Ray output in a particular area. These outbursts are called ULXs (Ultraluminous X-Ray Sources) and this is one of the first times that a change of this magnitude has been observed in a binary system (companion star orbiting a neutron star, or black hole) The brightness of the ULX inside M83 increased by 3000%. This is evidence (along with a similar outburst inside M31) for lower-mass black holes which are more volatile than previously thought. The optical data shows a bright blue source (pictured bottom) which astronomers believe to be a disk of energetic material around the black hole which was picked up by its companion star.
Credit: NASA, Chandra
data and images can be found: http://chandra.si.edu/index.html