Powerful Stream of Gas Moving Toward the Black Hole

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory for the first time captured powerful stream of gas rushes to the massive black hole. The observations will help tackle two of the most fundamental problems in modern astrophysics: understanding how black holes grow and how matter behaves in their intense gravity. The black hole is at the center of a large galaxy known as NGC 3115, which is located about 32 million light years from Earth. As gas flows toward a black hole, it becomes squeezed, making it hotter and brighter. The researchers found the rise in gas temperature begins about 700 light years from the black hole, giving the location of the Bondi radius.  

This suggests that the black hole in the center of NGC 3115 has a mass about two billion times that of the sun, making  it the closest black hole of that size to Earth. The Chandra data also show the gas close to the black hole in the center of the galaxy is denser than gas further.