Black Hole News

Fermi Views Blazar 3C 279’s Record Gamma-Ray Flare

July 11, 2015

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Image of Blazar 3C 279's Historic Gamma-Ray Flare

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other satellites have recorded a record flare from a black hole at the center of the distant galaxy 3C 279. Five billion years ago, a great disturbance rocked a region near the monster black hole at the center of galaxy 3C 279. On June 14, the pulse of high-energy […]

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Massive Black Hole Outgrows Its Galaxy, Measures Nearly 7 Billion Solar Masses

July 10, 2015

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Massive Black Hole Outgrows Its Galaxy CID-947

A team of scientists has discovered a black hole in the early universe that grew much faster than its host galaxy, resulting in a gigantic black hole within a normal-size galaxy. The discovery runs counter to most observations about black holes, which are massive areas of space with extraordinarily strong gravity that can pull in […]

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NASA’s Swift Views a New Outburst from V404 Cygni

July 10, 2015

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NASA's Swift Views Black Hole of V404 Cygni

Since June 15, astronomers have been monitoring the ongoing light show detected by NASA’s Swift satellite. This new outburst is from V404 Cygni, a binary system where a black hole and a sun-like star orbit each other. What looks like a shooting target is actually an image of nested rings of X-ray light centered on […]

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NuSTAR Reveals Hidden Black Holes

July 7, 2015

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NuSTAR Explores the Hidden Lairs of Black Holes

Using NuSTAR, astronomers clearly identified five supermassive black holes that were previously elusive because of their surrounding cocoons of material. Some of the “biggest and baddest” black holes around are buried under thick blankets of gas and dust. These monsters in the middle of galaxies are actively devouring material, but their hidden nature makes observing […]

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“Black-Hole-Scope” Provides Insight into Space Directly Surrounding a Supermassive Black Hole

July 6, 2015

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Astronomers Use Cosmic Gravity to Create "Black Hole Telescope"

Astronomers used the magnifying effect of the stars to ‘zoom in’ on galaxy PKS 1830-211, revealing very small structures in the distant galaxy. The Integral, Fermi and Swift space observatories have used the magnifying power of a cosmic lens to explore the inner regions of a supermassive black hole. Gamma rays are highly energetic radiation […]

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NASA Monitors a Rare X-ray Outburst from a Stellar-Mass Black Hole

June 30, 2015

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NASA Monitors a Waking Black Hole

Astronomers around the world are watching the onset of a rare X-ray outburst from a stellar-mass black hole in the binary system V404 Cygni. On June 15, NASA’s Swift caught the onset of a rare X-ray outburst from a stellar-mass black hole in the binary system V404 Cygni. Astronomers around the world are watching the […]

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Hubble Reveals the Mysterious Early Formative Years of Quasars

June 19, 2015

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The Mysterious Early Formative Years of Quasars

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers uncover the mysterious early formative years of quasars and unveil chaotic collisions of galaxies that fuel quasars by feeding supermassive central black holes with gas. “The Hubble observations are definitely telling us that the peak of quasar activity in the early universe is driven by galaxies colliding and then […]

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Chandra Reveals Evidence of Multiple Eruptions from a Black Hole

June 10, 2015

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Supermassive Black Hole at the Center of NGC 5813 Has Erupted Multiple Times

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals that a supermassive black hole at the center of a group of galaxies has erupted multiple times over a period lasting about 50 million years. Evidence for the eruptions can be found in the cavities, or bubbles, carved out of the hot gas that envelops the galaxies and glows in […]

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New Insights into the Evolution of Radio Galaxy 3C 270

June 5, 2015

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Radio Galaxy NGC 4261

Using new and archival radio observations, astronomers reveal that the two lobes of radio galaxy 3C 270 are respectively about twenty-nine and thirty-seven million years old and that the lobes are the result of multiple outbursts of activity from the vicinity of black hole. The longest known highly collimated structures in the universe are the […]

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Astronomers Confirm Link between Galaxy Mergers and Supermassive Black Holes

May 29, 2015

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Artist Impression of High-Speed Jets from Supermassive Black Holes

Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to conduct a large survey to investigating the relationship between galaxies that have undergone mergers and the activity of the supermassive black holes at their cores, revealing a link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. […]

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Rare Quasar Quartet Reveals Massive Structure in Distant Universe

May 22, 2015

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Quasar Quartet Reveals Rare Massive Structure in Distant Universe

Astronomers have discovered four active black holes situated in close proximity to one another in the distant universe, surrounded by a giant nebula of cool dense gas. Using the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii, a group of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have discovered the first quadruple quasar: […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Tangled NGC 6240

May 18, 2015

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Hubble Revisits Galaxy NGC 6240

First viewed in 2008, this Hubble image shows galaxy NGC 6240. Not all galaxies are neatly shaped, as this new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 6240 clearly demonstrates. Hubble previously released an image of this galaxy back in 2008, but the knotted region, shown here in a pinky-red hue at the center of […]

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Chandra Reveals Black Holes Gorging at Excessive Rates

May 1, 2015

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Data Show Black Holes Gorging at Excessive Rates

New research from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals the existence of a population of black holes that is consuming extremely large amounts of material, possibly allowing the black holes in these quasars to grow at an extraordinarily rapid rate. Astronomers have studied 51 quasars with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and found they may represent an […]

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NuSTAR Spots Mysterious Glow of High-Energy X-Rays at Our Galaxy Center

April 30, 2015

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NuSTAR Sees Mysterious Glow of High-Energy X-Rays

NASA’s NuSTAR has spotted a mysterious glow of high-energy X-rays at the center of our Galaxy. Astronomers aren’t sure what the sources of the extra X-rays are, but one possibility is a population of dead stars. Peering into the heart of the Milky Way galaxy, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) has spotted a mysterious […]

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Nearby Star-Forming Galaxies Can Form Massive Black Holes

April 27, 2015

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Black Hole Hunters Tackle a Cosmic Conundrum

New research shows that a supermassive black hole exists in a place where it isn’t supposed to be, opening a new door to understanding what things were like as the universe evolved and grew in the depths of time. Supermassive black holes, the mysterious monsters that sit at the center of galaxies—the Milky Way included—were […]

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Black Hole ‘Wind’ Influences Evolution of Its Host Galaxy

March 26, 2015

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Astronomers Link Black-Hole Wind to a Galactic Gush of Star-Forming Gas

A newly published study is the first to directly connect a galaxy’s actively ‘feeding’ black hole to features found at much larger physical scales, revealing that it’s responsible for blowing star-forming gas out of the galaxy’s central regions. By combining observations from the Japan-led Suzaku X-ray satellite and the European Space Agency’s infrared Herschel Space […]

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Unusual Form of Cosmic Precipitation Can Affect the Growth and Evolution of Galaxies

March 5, 2015

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Cosmic Showers Halt Galaxy Growth

New research based on x-ray data from Chandra shows how an unusual form of cosmic precipitation can affect the growth and evolution of galaxies, slowing down star formation in galaxies with giant black holes. This galaxy cluster comes from a sample of over 200 that were studied to determine how giant black holes at their […]

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First Time Solutions Provide New Insight in Black Hole Collisions

February 27, 2015

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New Insight Found in Black Hole Collisions

In a new study, astrophysicists provide for the first time solutions to decades-old equations that describe conditions as two black holes in a binary system orbit each other and spiral in toward a collision. New research by Dr. Michael Kesden, assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas, and his colleagues provides revelations about the most […]

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