Perseus Black Hole

Photograph courtesy NASA/CXC/IoA/A. Fabian et al.

A view of the central region of the Perseus galaxy cluster, one of the most massive objects in the universe, shows the effects that a relatively small but supermassive black hole can have millions of miles beyond its core. Astronomers studying this photo, taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, determined that sound waves emitted by explosive venting around the black hole are heating the surrounding area and inhibiting star growth some 300,000 light-years away. "In relative terms, it is as if a heat source the size of a fingernail affects the behavior of a region the size of Earth," said Andrew Fabian of Cambridge University.