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Supermassive black hole

Artist's concept of a supermassive black hole (Image: ASA/JPL-Caltech)

Supermassive black holes are titanic oddities. Usually sited at the core of galaxies and various high-energy phenomena such as quasars, their mass can be anywhere from that of a hundred thousand to billions of suns. Now observations from NASA and ESA space telescopes are shedding light on the incredibly powerful cosmic winds they produce, which can have more energy than an entire galaxy.  Read More

Artists impression of M60-UCD1 – a dwarf galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its cent...

Astronomers from the University of Utah, using the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, have discovered a dwarf galaxy that is the smallest ever recorded with a supermassive black hole at its center. The galaxy, M60-UCD1, has been found to contain a black hole with a mass equivalent to 21 million times that of our own sun and whose presence may suggest that such enormous black holes could be more common than previously thought.  Read More

The spiral galaxy NGC 4258 is ejecting gas and high-energy particles in a spectacular disp...

As the US prepares for 4th of July fireworks here on Earth, a nearby spiral galaxy similar to our Milky Way is putting on a pyrotechnics display of its own. The galaxy, NGC 4258 (also known as Messier 106 or M 106), is ejecting gas and high-energy particles in a spectacular display of power that is rippling across the face of the galaxy with shock waves of stellar energy.  Read More

Image of the Fornax cluster of galaxies with artistically enhanced purple areas representi...

A fresh analysis of data collected by NASA's WISE telescope has cast doubt on the widely accepted unified model for the composition of black holes. The study examined 170,000 supermassive black holes, and will require scientists to present new theories on the structure of these stellar giants.  Read More

A European Southern Observatory simulation of gas cloud G2 threading through the local sta...

As you read this, the eyes of the astrophysical world are focused on about one-trillionth of the sky, watching as the calm existence of G2, a three-Earth mass gas cloud near the galactic center, is viciously disrupted by a close encounter with Sagittarius A*, the galaxy's supermassive black hole. Careful observation of this rare event is expected to provide an enormous amount of information on the environment of the central light month (about 6,000 AU) immediately surrounding the black hole.  Read More

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