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GRO J1655-40 (Black Hole)


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GRO J1655-40
Black Hole (ブラックホール)


星座 (Constellation)
さそり座 (Sco) (Scorpius)

距離 (Distance)
5,500光年 (5,500 light-years)

GRO J1655-40 is a black hole located 5,500 light years from the Earth in the constellation Scorpius.

GRO J1655-40 (Black Hole) : Picture

GRO J1655-40
Microquasar GRO J1655-40 (artist's impression)
(C) European Space Agency, NASA and Felix Mirabel (the French Atomic Energy Commission & the Institute for Astronomy and Space Physics/Conicet of Argentina)
GRO J1655-40 (in blue) is the second so-called 'microquasar' discovered in our Galaxy. Microquasars are black holes of about the same mass as a star. They behave as scaled-down versions of much more massive black holes that are at the cores of extremely active galaxies, called quasar. Their masses can range from 3.5 to approximately 15 times the mass of our Sun.

GRO J1655-40 is the second so-called 'microquasar' discovered in our Galaxy. Microquasars are black holes of about the same mass as a star. They behave as scaled-down versions of much more massive black holes that are at the cores of extremely active galaxies, called quasars. Astronomers have known about the existence of stellar-mass black holes since the early 1970s. Their masses can range from 3.5 to approximately 15 times the mass of our Sun. Using Hubble data, astronomers were able to describe the black-hole system. The companion star had apparently survived the original supernova explosion that created the black hole. It is an ageing star that completes an orbit around the black hole every 2.6 days. It is being slowly devoured by the black hole. Blowtorch-like jets (shown in blue) are streaming away from the black-hole system at 90% of the speed of light.

GRO J1655-40
GRO J1655-40: Evidence for a Spinning Black Hole
(C) April Hobart, CXC
In the center of a swirling whirlpool of hot gas is likely a beast that has never been seen directly: a black hole. Studies of the bright light emitted by the swirling gas frequently indicate not only that a black hole is present, but also likely attributes. The gas surrounding GRO J1655-40, for example, has been found to display an unusual flickering at a rate of 450 times a second. Given a previous mass estimate for the central object of seven times the mass of our Sun, the rate of the fast flickering can be explained by a black hole that is rotating very rapidly. What physical mechanisms actually cause the flickering -- and a slower quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) -- in accretion disks surrounding black holes and neutron stars remains a topic of much research.

Wind from a Black Hole
Wind from a Black Hole
(C) M. Weiss (CXC), NASA
Binary star system GRO J1655-40 consists of a relatively normal star about twice as massive as the Sun co-orbiting with a black hole of about seven solar masses. This striking artist's vision of the exotic binary system helps visualize matter drawn from the normal star by gravity and swirling toward the black hole. But it also includes a wind of material escaping from the black hole's accretion disk. In fact, astronomers now argue that Chandra Observatory x-ray data indicate a high-speed wind is being driven from this system's disk by magnetic forces. Internal magnetic fields also help drive material in the swirling disk into the black hole itself. If you had x-ray eyes as good as Chandra's, you could find GRO J1655-40 about 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.

Black-hole system GRO J1655-40
Black-hole system GRO J1655-40 in Scorpius
(C) European Space Agency, NASA and Felix Mirabel (the French Atomic Energy Commission & the Institute for Astronomy and Space Physics/Conicet of Argentina)
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the Year 2001 observation of the black hole system GRO J1655-40 in the constellation of Scorpius. Hubble's high resolution has allowed astronomers to measure the motion of this black-hole system across the sky using this image and an image taken in 1996. Scientists combined the Hubble data with those obtained from ground-based telescopes and found that the black hole is moving through space with a velocity of 400,000 kilometres per hour. This has provided possibly the best evidence yet that stellar-mass black holes are made in supernova explosions. The 720-second exposure was taken through a red filter.

GRO J1655-40
Close-up of the black-hole system GRO J1655-40 (ground-based image)
(C) European Space Agency, NASA & Digitized Sky Survey
In this one-degree view the black-hole system GRO J1655-40 is marked with a red circle. An arrow indicates the motion of the black hole over the next 100,000 years.

GRO J1655-40
Region around black-hole system GRO J1655-40 (ground-based image)
(C) Digitized Sky Survey
Four-degree field is centred on the black-hole system GRO J1655-40. The image is from the Digitized Sky Survey II.

GRO J1655-40 GRO J1655-40
GRO J1655-40 (artist's impression)
(C) NASA/ESA
GRO J1655-40
(C) April Hobart, CXC
GRO J1655-40
GRO J1655-40
(C) M. Weiss (CXC), NASA
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