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Tour: NASA's Chandra Identifies an Underachieving Black Hole
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Chandra X-ray Image with Scale Bar
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/IOA/Fabian et al. Optical: NASA/U. Durham/Smail et al.)

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Type 2 Quasar:
Gravitational Lens Helps Chandra Find Rare Type of Black Hole

Type 2 Quasar
Credit: X-ray: NASA/IOA/Fabian et al., Optical: NASA/U.Durham/Smail et al.

X-ray (left) and Optical (right) Images of Veiled Black Hole. The left hand panel shows the Chandra X-ray Observatory image of a powerful point-like source of X rays. The Hubble Space Telescope image (right panel) shows the spiral galaxy with which the X-ray source is associated. The X-ray source is located at the center of the galaxy, and has a deficit of low energy X rays, consistent with absorption by a thick cloud of gas. The combination of powerful X-ray emission, absorption of low energy X-rays, and the relatively normal optical appearance of the galaxy suggests that the source is a rare type of black hole called a Type 2 quasar.

The spread-out appearance of the X-ray source is an instrumental artifact. The distribution of X rays is consistent with this source being point-like. The X-ray and optical image panels have the same scale, which is 10 arcsec on a side.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer Image (ACIS) of CXOUJ215334.0+174240

Fast Facts for Type 2 Quasar:
Credit  X-ray: NASA/IOA/Fabian et al., Optical: NASA/U.Durham/Smail et al.
Scale  Image is 10 arcsec across.
Category  Quasars & Active Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 21h 53m 34s | Dec +17° 42' 40"
Constellation  Pegasus
Observation Dates  November 5, 1999
Observation Time  3 hours
Obs. IDs  501
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
Release Date  March 20, 2000