Black Hole News

Hubble Reveals That Markarian 231 is Powered by a Double Black Hole

August 28, 2015

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Hubble RevealsThat Mrk 231 is Powered by a Double Black Hole

Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers discovered that Markarian 231 is powered by two central black holes furiously whirling about each other. Markarian 231 is the nearest galaxy to Earth that hosts a quasar, located 581 million light-years away. The finding suggests that quasars—the brilliant cores of active galaxies – may commonly […]

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XMM-Newton Views Turbulent Events at the Center of the Milky Way

August 22, 2015

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The Galactic Black Hole and Its Surrounding Emission in the Milky Way

Using the XMM-Newton X-ray Satellite, astronomers from the Max Planck Institute observe the events around the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Who left the deep scars on the heart of our Milky Way? In their hunt for elusive clues that might reveal the culprit, an international team of astronomers at the […]

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Astronomers Discover Supernovae in ‘Wrong Place at Wrong Time’

August 14, 2015

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Host-Galaxy Properties Suggest a Nuclear Origin for Calcium-Rich Supernova Progenitors

A new analysis of 13 supernovae is helping to reveal how some young stars exploded sooner than expected, hurling them to a lonely place far from their host galaxies. It’s a complicated mystery of double-star systems, merging galaxies, and twin black holes that began in 2000 when the first such supernova was discovered, according to […]

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Astronomers Identify the Smallest Supermassive Black Hole to Date

August 12, 2015

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Chandra Identifies the Smallest Supermassive Black Hole Ever Detected

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the 6.5-meter Clay Telescope, a team of astronomers has identified the smallest supermassive black hole ever detected in the center of a galaxy. This oxymoronic object could provide clues to how larger black holes formed along with their host galaxies 13 billion years or more in the past. Astronomers […]

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Evidence of Galaxy Star Birth Regulated by Black Holes

August 9, 2015

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Astronomers Find Evidence of Galaxy Star Birth Regulated by Black-Hole Fountain

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered a unique process for how the universe’s largest elliptical galaxies continue making stars long after their peak years of star birth. Combining Hubble data with observations from a suite of ground-based and space telescopes, two independent teams found that that the black hole, jets, and newborn stars […]

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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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