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Picture of the Day

Hunting grounds for dying massive stars and black holes

Recent findings provide further evidence that the outskirts of spiral galaxies host massive black holes. These overlooked regions are new places to observe gravitational waves created when the massive bodies collide. The study winds back time on massive black holes by analyzing their visible precursors -- supernovae with collapsing cores. The slow decay of these massive stars creates bright signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum before stellar evolution ends in black holes. Using data from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search, a survey of nearby galaxies, the research team compared the supernovae rate in outer spiral galaxies with that of known hosts -- dwarf/satellite galaxies -- and found comparable numbers for typical spiral outskirts and typical dwarf galaxies, roughly two core-collapse supernovae per millennium.

Visit Website | Image credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass Amherst/M.D.Stage et al.