A NASA image released Friday shows a glimpse of a galaxy with an active black hole, the focus of a recent discovery much of which was made in Baltimore.
The space agency's image of the day gallery shows an active black hole squelching star formation in galaxy Arp 220. The picture uses images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and with an artist's impression of jets of gas emanating from the core of the galaxy.
Research announced May 1 revealed that astronomers at Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute observed just such a black hole. They had observed a black hole absorbing a star that wandered too close, something that had been widely theorized about but never watched.
Their research also showed that the star had already been stripped of its outer layers, likely in previous brushes with the same black hole.
NASA's image shows such an incident, but from far away. When stars or gas fall into black holes, "the materials are accelerated and heated around the black hole, releasing great torrents of energy," NASA explains in its photo caption. "In the process, active black holes often generate colossal jets that blast out twin streams of heated matter."