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GOODS Chandra Deep Field South - 033213.9-275000
(Credit: NASA, ESA, A. M. Koekemoer (STScI), M. Dickinson (NOAO) and The GOODS Team)

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GOODS CDFS 033213.9-275000:
Hidden Black Holes Uncovered by Combined Effort of NASA's Great Observatories

GOODS CDFS 033213.9-275000
Credit: NASA, ESA, A. M. Koekemoer (STScI), M. Dickinson (NOAO) and The GOODS Team

The combined powers of three of NASA's Great Observatories -- the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope -- have been used to find evidence of a hidden population of supermassive black holes in the universe. All these space telescopes took a long look at a small region of the sky (called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey field, or the GOODS field for short). When visible light and X-ray light from this region were compared, astronomers found numerous X-ray sources that can be identified as supermassive black holes in young galaxies billions of light years from Earth. But the X-ray glow from other sources had no obvious host galaxies in optical light. Two of these X-ray sources are identified by the central blue spots in the composite Hubble-Chandra images on the upper and lower left panels.

The Chandra-Spitzer composite X-ray/infrared images on the upper and lower right panels demonstrate that these mysterious sources are also detected at infrared wavelengths. This indicates that the galaxies around these supermassive black holes are heavily obscured by dust. Visible light is absorbed by the dust, which is heated by the absorption and glows at infrared wavelengths.

Astronomers have suspected that many supermassive black holes may have been missed in optical surveys because they were shrouded in dust. Combined data from Chandra, Spitzer and Hubble should soon yield a much more complete census of the number of black holes in the early universe

Fast Facts for GOODS CDFS 033213.9-275000:
Credit  NASA, ESA, A. M. Koekemoer (STScI), M. Dickinson (NOAO) and The GOODS Team
Scale  Image is across.
Category  Cosmology/Deep Fields/X-ray Background, Black Holes
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 03h 32m 13.92s | Dec -27° 50' 00.7"
Constellation  Fornax
Observation Dates  1999: Oct, Nov
2000: May, Jun, Dec
Observation Time  278 hours
Obs. IDs  unknown
Instrument  ACIS
Release Date  June 01, 2004