Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Black Hole Cluster...

Here is the link for the story on the black hole cluster.. The link was sent to me by my brother-in-law Pratyush. The story reads as follows:

Astronomers have spotted a giant cloud of superheated gas 6 million light years wide that might be generated by a cluster of supermassive black holes.

The plasma cloud, detailed in April 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal, might be the source of mysterious cosmic rays that permeate our universe.

"One of the most exciting aspects of the discovery is the new questions it poses," said study leader Philipp Kronberg of Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico. "For example, what kind of mechanism could create a cloud of such enormous dimensions that does not coincide with any single galaxy or galaxy cluster? Is that same mechanism connected to the mysterious source of ultra high energy cosmic rays that come from beyond our galaxy?"

The plasma cloud is located about 300 million light years away and is spread across a vast region of space known to contain several galaxies with supermassive black holes, or active galactic nuclei (AGN), embedded at their centers. The cloud might be evidence that AGNs convert and transfer their enormous gravitational prowess, by a yet-unknown process, into magnetic fields and cosmic rays that spread across the universe.

The new finding could also help explain the unwanted and confusing "noise" scientists observe in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), Kronberg said. The CMB is a ubiquitous radiation in the universe that is said to be a remnant of the Big Bang.

The plasma cloud was discovered using the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico and the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) in British Columbia.

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