Universe  ID: 10698

NASA's Swift Finds 'Missing' Active Galaxies

Most large galaxies contain a giant central black hole. In an active galaxy, matter falling toward the supermassive black hole powers high-energy emissions so intense that two classes of active galaxies, quasars and blazars, rank as the most luminous objects in the universe. Thick clouds of dust and gas near the central black hole screens out ultraviolet, optical and low-energy (or soft) X-ray light. Although there are many different types of active galaxy, astronomers explain the different observed properties based on how the galaxy angles into our line of sight. We view the brightest ones nearly face on, but as the angle increases, the surrounding ring of gas and dust absorbs increasing amounts of the black hole's emissions.


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Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Lead Animator
Francis Reddy (University of Maryland College Park): Lead Science Writer
Michael McClare (HTSI): Animator
Donna Cox (AVL NCSA/University of Illinois): Animator
Chris Smith (HTSI): Animator
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Video Editor
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Narrator
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Producer
Marco Ajello (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory): Scientist
Davide Burlon (Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics): Scientist
Francis Reddy (University of Maryland College Park): Graphics
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This item is part of these series:
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Astrophysics Animations
Astrophysics Stills
Astrophysics Features

Goddard TV Tape:
G2011-009 -- Swift Survey Finds 'Missing' Active Galaxies

SVS >> Galaxy
SVS >> Satellite
DLESE >> Space science
SVS >> X-ray
SVS >> Black Hole
SVS >> Active Galaxy
SVS >> Quasar
SVS >> Universe
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> Swift
DLESE >> Narrated
SVS >> Blazar
SVS >> Active Galactic Nucleus
NASA Science >> Universe