NGC 4151

NGC 4151 is an intermediate spiral seyfert galaxy with weak inner ring structure located 19 megaparsecs (62 million light-years) from Earth[3] in the constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy was first mentioned by William Herschel on March 17, 1787; it was one of the two Seyfert galaxies described in the paper [4] which defined the term. It is one of the nearest galaxies to Earth to contain an actively growing supermassive black hole;[5] it was speculated that the nucleus may host a binary black hole, with about 40 million and about 10 million solar masses respectively, orbiting with a 15.8-year period.[6] This is, however, still a matter of active debate.

Some astronomers nickname it the "Eye of Sauron" from its appearance.[7]

NGC 4151
NGC4151 Galaxy from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter Schulman Telescope courtesy Adam Block
Image of NGC 4151 from the 0.8m Schulman Telescope at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
ConstellationCanes Venatici
Right ascension 12h 10m 32.6s[1]
Declination+39° 24′ 21″[1]
995 ± 3 km/s[1]
Distance19 Mpc (62×106 ly) [3]
Apparent magnitude (V)11.5[1]
Type(R')SAB(rs)ab,[1] Sy1[2]
Apparent size (V)6′.4 × 5′.5[1]
Other designations
UGC 7166,[1] PGC 38739[1]

X-ray source

NGC 4151
NGC 4151. X-rays (blue), optical data (yellow), radio observation (red)
NGC 4151 - HST
NGC 4151, by HST (WFC3).
Astronomers using data from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton satellite have found a long-sought X-ray signal from NGC 4151. When the black hole’s X-ray source flares, its accretion disk reflects the emission about half an hour later.

X-ray emission from NGC 4151 was apparently first detected on December 24, 1970, with the X-ray observatory satellite Uhuru,[8] although the observation spanned an error-box of 0.56 square degrees and there is some controversy as to whether UHURU might not have detected the BL Lac object 1E 1207.9 +3945, which is inside their error box - the later HEAO 1 detected an X-ray source of NGC 4151 at 1H 1210+393,[9] coincident with the optical position of the nucleus and outside the error box of Uhuru.[8]

To explain the X-ray emission two different possibilities have been proposed:[10]

  • radiation of material falling onto the central black hole (which was growing much more quickly about 25,000 years ago) was so bright that it stripped electrons away from the atoms in the gas in its path, and then electrons recombined with these ionized atoms
  • the energy released by material flowing into the black hole in an accretion disk created a vigorous outflow of gas from the surface of the disk, which directly heated gas in its path to X-ray emitting temperatures

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Results for NGC 4151". NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  2. ^ a b "NGC 4151". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
  3. ^ a b W. M. Keck Observatory (2014-11-26). "'Eye of Sauron' Provides New Way of Measuring Distances to Galaxies". W. M. Keck Observatory. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  4. ^ C. K. Seyfert (1943). "Nuclear Emission in Spiral Nebulae". Astrophysical Journal. 97: 28–40. Bibcode:1943ApJ....97...28S. doi:10.1086/144488.
  5. ^ "NGC 4151: An active black hole in the "Eye of Sauron"". Astronomy magazine. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  6. ^ Bon; Jovanović; Marziani; Shapovalova; et al. (2012). "The First Spectroscopically Resolved Sub-parsec Orbit of a Supermassive Binary Black Hole". The Astrophysical Journal. 759 (2): 118–125. arXiv:1209.4524. Bibcode:2012ApJ...759..118B. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/759/2/118.
  7. ^ Chandra X-ray Observatory (10 March 2011). "NGC 4151: An Active Black Hole in the "Eye of Sauron"". Chandra X-ray Center.
  8. ^ a b Gursky H; Kellogg EM; Leong C; Tananbaum H; et al. (Apr 1971). "Detection of X-Rays from the Seyfert Galaxies NGC 1275 and NGC 4151 by the UHURU Satellite". Astrophys J. 165 (4): L43–8. Bibcode:1971ApJ...165L..43G. doi:10.1086/180713.
  9. ^ Wood KS; Meekins JF; Yentis DJ; Smathers HW; et al. (December 1984). "The HEAO A-1 X-ray source catalog". Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser. 56 (12): 507–649. Bibcode:1984ApJS...56..507W. doi:10.1086/190992.
  10. ^ Chandra X-Ray Observatory (2011-03-10). "The 'Eye of Sauron'". NASA. Retrieved 2011-03-14.

External links

Active galactic nucleus

An active galactic nucleus (AGN) is a compact region at the center of a galaxy that has a much higher than normal luminosity over at least some portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with characteristics indicating that the luminosity is not produced by stars. Such excess non-stellar emission has been observed in the radio, microwave, infrared, optical, ultra-violet, X-ray and gamma ray wavebands. A galaxy hosting an AGN is called an "active galaxy". The radiation from an AGN is believed to result from the accretion of matter by a supermassive black hole at the center of its host galaxy.

Active galactic nuclei are the most luminous persistent sources of electromagnetic radiation in the universe, and as such can be used as a means of discovering distant objects; their evolution as a function of cosmic time also puts constraints on models of the cosmos.

The observed characteristics of an AGN depend on several properties such as the mass of the central black hole, the rate of gas accretion onto the black hole, the orientation of the accretion disk, the degree of obscuration of the nucleus by dust, and presence or absence of jets.

Numerous subclasses of AGN have been defined based on their observed characteristics; the most powerful AGN are classified as quasars. A blazar is an AGN with a jet pointed toward the Earth, in which radiation from the jet is enhanced by relativistic beaming.

Astronomical naming conventions

In ancient times, only the Sun and Moon, a few stars, and the most easily visible planets had names. Over the last few hundred years, the number of identified astronomical objects has risen from hundreds to over a billion, and more are discovered every year. Astronomers need to be able to assign systematic designations to unambiguously identify all of these objects, and at the same time give names to the most interesting objects and, where relevant, features of those objects.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the officially recognized authority in astronomy for assigning designations to celestial bodies such as stars, planets, and minor planets, including any surface features on them. In response to the need for unambiguous names for astronomical objects, it has created a number of systematic naming systems for objects of various sorts.

Astrophysical X-ray source

Astrophysical X-ray sources are astronomical objects with physical properties which result in the emission of X-rays.

There are a number of types of astrophysical objects which emit X-rays, from galaxy clusters, through black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGN) to galactic objects such as supernova remnants, stars, and binary stars containing a white dwarf (cataclysmic variable stars and super soft X-ray sources), neutron star or black hole (X-ray binaries). Some solar system bodies emit X-rays, the most notable being the Moon, although most of the X-ray brightness of the Moon arises from reflected solar X-rays. A combination of many unresolved X-ray sources is thought to produce the observed X-ray background. The X-ray continuum can arise from bremsstrahlung, either magnetic or ordinary Coulomb, black-body radiation, synchrotron radiation, inverse Compton scattering of lower-energy photons by relativistic electrons, knock-on collisions of fast protons with atomic electrons, and atomic recombination, with or without additional electron transitions.Furthermore, celestial entities in space are discussed as celestial X-ray sources. The origin of all observed astronomical X-ray sources is in, near to, or associated with a coronal cloud or gas at coronal cloud temperatures for however long or brief a period.

Eye of Sauron (disambiguation)

The Eye of Sauron is the image most often associated with Sauron in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Eye of Sauron or Sauron's Eye may also refer to:

ESO 456-67, "Eye of Sauron" nebula, a planetary nebula with an eye-like appearance, nicknamed due to the similarity with the theatrical eye.

Fomalhaut, "The Great Eye of Sauron", a star with a debris disc, nicknamed due to its resemblance to the theatrical eye.

Helix Nebula, "Eye of Sauron", a planetary nebula with an eye-like appearance also called "The Eye of God"

HR 4796A, "Sauron's Eye", a star system with a bright dust ring whose alignment appears similar to the theatrical eye, and thus nicknamed.

NGC 4151, "The Eye of Sauron", an intermediate spiral Seyfert galaxy, whose configuration appears similar to the theatrical eye, and thus nicknamed.

Herschel 400 Catalogue

The Herschel 400 catalogue is a subset of William Herschel's original Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, selected by Brenda F. Guzman (Branchett), Lydel Guzman, Paul Jones, James Morrison, Peggy Taylor and Sara Saey of the Ancient City Astronomy Club in St. Augustine, Florida, United States c. 1980. They decided to generate the list after reading a letter published in Sky & Telescope by James Mullaney of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.In this letter Mr. Mullaney suggested that William Herschel's original catalogue of 2,500 objects would be an excellent basis for deep sky object selection for amateur astronomers looking for a challenge after completing the Messier Catalogue.

The Herschel 400 is a subset of John Herschel's General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters published in 1864 of 5,000 objects, and hence also of the New General Catalogue.

The catalogue forms the basis of the Astronomical League's Herschel 400 club. In 1997, another subset of 400 Herschel objects was selected by the Rose City Astronomers of Portland, Oregon as the Herschel II list, which forms the basis of the Astronomical League's Herschel II Program.

International Ultraviolet Explorer

The International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) was an astronomical observatory satellite primarily designed to take ultraviolet spectra. The satellite was a collaborative project between NASA, the UK Science Research Council and the European Space Agency (ESA). The mission was first proposed in early 1964, by a group of scientists in the United Kingdom, and was launched on January 26, 1978 aboard a NASA Delta rocket. The mission lifetime was initially set for 3 years, but in the end it lasted almost 18 years, with the satellite being shut down in 1996. The switch-off occurred for financial reasons, while the telescope was still functioning at near original efficiency.

It was the first space observatory to be operated in real time by astronomers who visited the groundstations in the United States and Europe. Astronomers made over 104,000 observations using the IUE, of objects ranging from solar system bodies to distant quasars. Among the significant scientific results from IUE data were the first large scale studies of stellar winds, accurate measurements of the way interstellar dust absorbs light, and measurements of the supernova SN1987A which showed that it defied stellar evolution theories as they then stood. When the mission ended, it was considered the most successful astronomical satellite ever.

List of black holes

This is a list of black holes (and stars considered probable candidates) organized by size (including black holes of undetermined mass); some items in this list are galaxies or star clusters that are believed to be organized around a black hole. Messier and New General Catalogue designations are given where possible.

List of galaxies

The following is a list of notable galaxies.

There are about 51 galaxies in the Local Group (see list of nearest galaxies for a complete list), on the order of 100,000 in our Local Supercluster and an estimated number of about one to two trillion in all of the observable universe.

The discovery of the nature of galaxies as distinct from other nebulae (interstellar clouds) was made in the 1920s. The first attempts at systematic catalogues of galaxies were made in the 1960s, with the Catalogue of Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies listing 29,418 galaxies and galaxy clusters, and with the Morphological Catalogue of Galaxies, a putatively complete list of galaxies with photographic magnitude above 15, listing 30,642. In the 1980s, the Lyons Groups of Galaxies listed 485 galaxy groups with 3,933 member galaxies. Galaxy Zoo is a project aiming at a more comprehensive list: launched in July 2007, it has classified over one million galaxy images from The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, The Hubble Space Telescope and the Cosmic Assembly Near-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey.There is no universal naming convention for galaxies, as they are mostly catalogued before it is established whether the object is or isn't a galaxy. Mostly they are identified by their celestial coordinates together with the name of the observing project (HUDF, SDSS, 3C, CFHQS, NGC/IC, etc.)

List of most massive black holes

This is an ordered list of the most massive black holes so far discovered (and probable candidates), measured in units of solar masses (M☉), or the mass of the Sun (approx. 2×1030 kilograms).

NGC 4145

NGC 4145 is a barred spiral galaxy located in the Ursa Major galaxy cluster, 68 million light years from the Earth. The galaxy has little star formation, except on its outer edges. Due to the loss of energy that occurs without star formation, some astronomers predict that the galaxy will degenerate into a lenticular galaxy in the near future. However, the galaxy's interaction with NGC 4151 may "maintain [its] star formation".

NGC 4244

NGC 4244, also Caldwell 26, is an edge-on loose Spiral galaxy and Caldwell object in the constellation Canes Venatici. It is part of the M94 Group (the Canes Venatici I Group), a galaxy group relatively close to the Local Group containing the Milky Way. It shines at magnitude +10.2/+10.6. Its celestial cooridinates are RA 12h 17.5m, dec +37° 49′. It is located near a naked-eye G-class star Beta Canum Venaticorum, barred spiral galaxy NGC 4151, and irregular galaxy NGC 4214. The galaxy lies approximately 6.5 million/14 million light years away, with a redshift of +243/493 km/s. A nuclear star cluster and halo is located at the centre of this galaxy.

NGC 612

NGC 612 is a lenticular galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor located approximately 388 million light-years from Earth. It is a type II Seyfert galaxy and thus has an active galactic nucleus. NGC 612 has been identified as an extremely rare example of a non-elliptical radio galaxy, hosting one of the nearest powerful FR-II radio sources.

Nicholas Mayall

Nicholas Ulrich Mayall (May 9, 1906 – January 5, 1993) was an American observational astronomer. After obtaining his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, Mayall worked at the Lick Observatory, where he remained from 1934 to 1960, except for a brief period at MIT's Radiation Laboratory during World War II.

During his time at Lick, Mayall contributed to astronomical knowledge of nebulae, supernovae, spiral galaxy internal motions, the redshifts of galaxies, and the origin, age, and size of the Universe. He played a significant role in the planning and construction of Lick's 120-inch (3.0 m) reflector, which represented a major improvement over its earlier 36-inch (0.91 m) telescope.

From 1960, Mayall spent 11 years as director of the Kitt Peak National Observatory until his retirement in 1971. Under his leadership KPNO, and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, developed into two of the world's top research observatories, equipped with premier telescopes. Mayall was responsible for the construction of the 4-meter (160 in) Kitt Peak reflector, which was named after him. When Mayall died in 1993, his ashes were spread high on an empty ridge of Kitt Peak.


OSO 7 or Orbiting Solar Observatory 7 (NSSDC ID: 1971-083A), before launch known as OSO H is the seventh in the series of American Orbiting Solar Observatory satellites launched by NASA between 1962 and 1975. OSO 7 was launched from Cape Canaveral on 29 September 1971 by a Delta N rocket into a 33.1° inclination, low-Earth (initially 321 by 572 km) orbit, and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 9 July 1974.

It was built by the Ball Brothers Research Corporation (BBRC), now known as Ball Aerospace, in Boulder Colorado.

While the basic design of all the OSO satellites was similar, the OSO 7 was larger [total spacecraft mass was 635 kg (1397 lb)] than the OSO 1 through OSO 6, with a larger squared-off solar array in the non-rotating "Sail", and a deeper rotating section, the "Wheel".

Radio galaxy

Radio galaxies and their relatives, radio-loud quasars and blazars, are types of active galaxy nuclei that are very luminous at radio wavelengths, with luminosities up to 1039 W between 10 MHz and 100 GHz. The radio emission is due to the synchrotron process. The observed structure in radio emission is determined by the interaction between twin jets and the external medium, modified by the effects of relativistic beaming. The host galaxies are almost exclusively large elliptical galaxies. Radio-loud active galaxies can be detected at large distances, making them valuable tools for observational cosmology. Recently, much work has been done on the effects of these objects on the intergalactic medium, particularly in galaxy groups and clusters.

Seyfert galaxy

Seyfert galaxies are one of the two largest groups of active galaxies, along with quasars. They have quasar-like nuclei (very luminous, distant and bright sources of electromagnetic radiation) with very high surface brightnesses whose spectra reveal strong, high-ionisation emission lines, but unlike quasars, their host galaxies are clearly detectable.Seyfert galaxies account for about 10% of all galaxies and are some of the most intensely studied objects in astronomy, as they are thought to be powered by the same phenomena that occur in quasars, although they are closer and less luminous than quasars. These galaxies have supermassive black holes at their centers which are surrounded by accretion discs of in-falling material. The accretion discs are believed to be the source of the observed ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet emission and absorption lines provide the best diagnostics for the composition of the surrounding material.Seen in visible light, most Seyfert galaxies look like normal spiral galaxies, but when studied under other wavelengths, it becomes clear that the luminosity of their cores is of comparable intensity to the luminosity of whole galaxies the size of the Milky Way.Seyfert galaxies are named after Carl Seyfert, who first described this class in 1943.

Sołtan argument

The Sołtan argument is an astrophysical theory outlined in 1982 by Polish astronomer Andrzej Sołtan. It maintains that if quasars were powered by accretion onto a supermassive black hole, then such supermassive black holes must exist in our local universe as "dead" quasars.

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