Black Hole News

NASA Telescopes Reveal a Surprising Blazar Connection

August 24, 2016


A Surprising Blazar Connection Revealed

Using data from from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers studying distant galaxies powered by monster black holes have uncovered an unexpected link between two very different wavelengths of the light they emit, the mid-infrared and gamma rays. The discovery has enabled the researchers to uncover dozens of new […]

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Spitzer Provides Astronomers with a New Way to See the Milky Way’s Giant Black Hole

July 26, 2016

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Astronomers See the Milky Way's Giant Black Hole with New Eyes

Astronomers are using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to further explore Sagittarius A*. At the center of our Milky Way galaxy lies a cosmic beast called Sagittarius A*. This supermassive black hole packs about four million sun-masses into a volume roughly the size of our solar system. Recently, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope began exploring this exotic […]

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Chandra Reveals Evidence for Violent Stellar Merger

July 15, 2016


Astronomers Find Evidence for Violent Stellar Merger

Using data from Chandra, astronomers have the strongest evidence to date that violent stellar mergers produce pencil-thin jets. This result has implications for estimating the number of such mergers that may detected with gravitational wave observatories. Gamma-ray bursts, or GRBs, are some of the most violent and energetic events in the Universe. Although these events […]

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Astronomers Prove the Existence of a “Gravitational Vortex” Around a Black Hole

July 13, 2016


XMM-Newton Proves the Existence of a "Gravitational Vortex" Around a Black Hole

Using data from XMM-Newton and NuSTAR, astronomers have proved the existence of a “gravitational vortex” around a black hole. This new discovery, aided by NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, solves a mystery that has eluded astronomers for more than 30 years, and will allow them to map the behavior of matter very close […]

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Astronomers Discover Evidence of a ‘Direct-Collapse Black Hole’

July 6, 2016


CR7 Provides Evidence for an Unusual Kind of Black Hole

A newly published study details evidence for a direct collapse black hole in the Lyman α source CR7. Astronomers Aaron Smith and Volker Bromm of The University of Texas at Austin, working with Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, have discovered evidence for an unusual kind of black hole born extremely early in […]

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Astronomers Measure the Intrinsic Shape of the Milky Way’s Black Hole

June 28, 2016


Measuring the Shape of the Milky Way's Black Hole

A newly published study details how astronomers successfully measured the intrinsic shape of Sagittarius A* at 3.5-mm wavelength. At the heart of our galaxy’s center is Sgr A*, a supermassive black hole containing about four million solar-masses of material. Sgr A* is relatively faint, unlike the supermassive black holes in some other galaxies. This is […]

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Low-Mass Black Hole May Represent New Population

June 27, 2016


Clandestine Black Hole May Represent New Population

By combining data from Chandra and several other telescopes, astronomers have identified the true nature of an unusual source in the Milky Way galaxy. This object contains a very quiet black hole, a few times the Sun’s mass, about 7,200 light years from Earth. This discovery implies that there could be many more black holes […]

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Astronomers Discover X-Ray Echoes from a Black Hole That Shattered a Passing Star

June 23, 2016


X-ray Echoes of a Shredded Star Provide Close-up of Black Hole

Using data from the Swift Satellite, astronomers have identified the reflections of X-ray flares erupting from a star that was shattered by a black hole. Some 3.9 billion years ago in the heart of a distant galaxy, the intense tidal pull of a monster black hole shredded a star that passed too close. When X-rays […]

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Did LIGO Find Dark Matter?

June 16, 2016


Gravitational Waves Detected

When it was announced that LIGO detected gravitational waves this past February, astrophysicists wondered about something else: Had the experiment found the “dark matter” that makes up most of the mass of the universe? This simulation of the binary black-hole coalescence GW151226 shows two black holes of 14 and 8 solar masses orbiting each […]

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves Again

June 15, 2016

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LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves for the Second Time

The twin Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) has detected gravitational waves for the second time. The signal was produced by two black holes colliding 1.4 billion light years away. For the second time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves — ripples through the fabric of space-time, created by extreme, cataclysmic events in the distant universe. […]

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Astronomers Observe Supermassive Black Hole Feeding on Cold Gas

June 8, 2016

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MIT Astronomers Observe Supermassive Black Hole Feeding on Cold Gas

A newly published study details the first direct evidence to support the hypothesis that black holes feed on clouds of cold gas. At the center of a galaxy cluster, 1 billion light years from Earth, a voracious, supermassive black hole is preparing for a chilly feast. For the first time, astronomers have detected billowy clouds […]

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Supermassive Black Holes in ‘Red Geyser’ Galaxies Suppress Star Formation

May 26, 2016

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Supermassive Black Holes Cause Galactic Warming

New research details the discovery of a new class of galaxies, called “red geysers,” with supermassive black hole winds so hot and energetic that stars can’t form. Over the last few billion years, a mysterious kind of “galactic warming” has caused many galaxies to change from a lively place where new stars formed every now […]

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Astronomers Discover Clues For How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly

May 25, 2016


Evidence That Some Early Supermassive Black Holes Formed Directly from the Collapse of a Gas Cloud

Using the combined data from Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer, atronomers have found evidence that some early supermassive black holes formed directly from the collapse of a gas cloud. Astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes. Researchers combined data from NASA’s Chandra […]

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NASA Astronomer Reveals Possible Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

May 24, 2016


Astronomers Suggest Possible Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

A newly published study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center suggests a possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter. Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of […]

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Fermi Helps Link Cosmic Neutrino to Blazar Blast

April 28, 2016


NASA's Fermi Helps Link Cosmic Neutrino to Blazar Blast

Nearly 10 billion years ago, the black hole at the center of a galaxy known as PKS B1424-418 produced a powerful outburst. Light from this blast began arriving at Earth in 2012. Now astronomers using data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have shown that a record-breaking neutrino seen around the same time likely was […]

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New Discovery Challenges Dark Matter, Stellar Acceleration Models

April 13, 2016


New Hypervelocity Binary Star Challenges Dark Matter, Stellar Acceleration Models

Astronomers have discovered a hypervelocity binary star that challenges dark matter and stellar acceleration models. A team of astronomers at the Friedrich Alexander University led by Péter Németh has discovered a binary star moving nearly at the escape velocity of our galaxy. There are about two dozen so-called hypervelocity stars known to be escaping the […]

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Astronomers Discover a 17 Billion Solar-Mass Black Hole in an Unlikely Place

April 11, 2016


A 17 Billion Solar-Mass Black Hole Discovered

Using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, a team of astronomers has uncovered one of the biggest supermassive black holes in an unlikely place: the center of a galaxy that lies in a quiet backwater of the Universe. Until now, the biggest supermassive black holes — those having more than 10 […]

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Gravitational Waves Could Soon be Detectable by Existing Radio Telescopes

February 25, 2016


Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves Could Soon be Detectable by Existing Radio Telescopes

A newly published study from the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves reveals that low-frequency gravitational waves could soon be detectable by existing radio telescopes. The recent detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) came from two black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, merging into […]

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