NGC 1399

CXC Logo
Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden St. Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
NGC 1399: An elliptical galaxy in the Fornax cluster that contains an ultraluminous X-ray source.
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UA/J. Irwin et al; Optical: NASA/STScI)

Caption: X-rays from Chandra and optical spectra from the Magellan telescopes provide evidence that a star was destroyed a black hole in a globular cluster. The Chandra data (blue) reveal a so-called ultraluminous X-ray source. When combined with optical observations, it suggests that a white dwarf star strayed too close to an intermediate-mass black hole and was ripped apart by tidal forces. If confirmed, this would be the first substantiation that globular clusters contain this middle-sized class of black hole.

Scale: Image is 3 arcmin across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory