Black Hole News

Chandra Observations Confirm a Counterjet from Pictor A

February 2, 2016

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Pictor A Blast from Black Hole Far Away

Astronomers have discovered a giant jet spanning continuously for over 300,000 light years blasting out of the galaxy Pictor A. In addition to the main jet, they also discovered evidence for a jet moving in the opposite direction. The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious “Death Star,” which can shoot powerful beams of radiation […]

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Astronomers Detect Signs of an Invisible Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way

January 15, 2016

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Nobeyama Radio Telescope Detects Signs of an Invisible Black Hole

Using the Nobeyama Radio Telescope, a team of astronomers has detected signs of an invisible black hole with a mass of 100 thousand times the mass of the Sun around the center of the Milky Way. The team assumes that this possible “intermediate mass” black hole is a key to understanding the birth of the […]

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WISE Reveals Most Luminous Galaxy W2246-0526 Is Ripping Itself Apart

January 15, 2016

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Astronomers View Luminous Galaxy Ripping Itself Apart

New research reveals that the distant galaxy W2246-0526 is expelling tremendously turbulent gas (a phenomenon never seen before in an object of this kind) and is tearing itself apart. In a far-off galaxy, 12.4 billion light-years from Earth, a ravenous black hole is devouring galactic grub. Its feeding frenzy produces so much energy, it stirs […]

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XMM-Newton Reveals High-Speed Winds Around a Supermassive Black Hole

January 14, 2016

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XMM-Newton Reveals High-Speed Gas Streaming from a Spiral Galaxy

ESA’s XMM-Newton reveals that winds around a supermassive black hole located 800 million light-years from Earth are moving at 23,000–33,000 km/s, about 10% the speed of light. ESA’s XMM-Newton has found a wind of high-speed gas streaming from the center of a bright spiral galaxy like our own that may be reducing its ability to […]

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GRAVITY Instrument Reveals a New Double Star

January 13, 2016

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GRAVITY Discovers New Double Star in Orion Trapezium Cluster

The first observations with the new GRAVITY probe reveal that one of the components of the Trapezium Cluster (Theta1 Orionis F) is a double star. Zooming in on black holes is the main mission for the newly installed instrument GRAVITY at ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. During its first observations, GRAVITY successfully combined starlight […]

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Chandra Reveals Supermassive Black Hole Undergoing Powerful Outbursts

January 5, 2016

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NASA's Chandra Finds Supermassive Black Hole

Using Chandra observations, astronomers have discovered one of the nearest supermassive black holes to Earth that is currently undergoing powerful outbursts. Such outbursts are part of the “feedback” process that is important to the evolution of the black hole and its host galaxy. Evidence for powerful blasts produced by a giant black hole has been […]

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Astronomers Use G1 and G2 to Probe the Accretion Flow Feeding Sgr A*

January 4, 2016

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Astronomers Use Gas Clouds to Probe the Accretion Flow Feeding Sgr A

New research uses the G1 and G2 gas clouds to probe the accretion flow feeding Sgr A∗. The center of our Milky Way galaxy, about twenty-five thousand light years from Earth, is invisible to us in optical light because of the extensive amounts of absorbing, intervening dust. Radiation at many other wavelengths, however, including the […]

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Hubble Image of the Week – Spiral Galaxy NGC 4845

January 4, 2016

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Hubble Image of Spiral Galaxy NGC 4845

This newly released Hubble image shows the spiral galaxy NGC 4845, which is located over 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin). The galaxy’s orientation clearly reveals the galaxy’s striking spiral structure: a flat and dust-mottled disc surrounding a bright galactic bulge. NGC 4845’s glowing center hosts a gigantic version of […]

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How Large Can a Black Hole Grow? As Large as 50 Billion Solar Masses

December 23, 2015

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Astronomers Reveal How Large Black Holes Can Grow

New research from the University of Leicester reveals how large black holes can grow to. Black holes at the heart of galaxies could swell to 50 billion times the mass of the sun before losing the discs of gas they rely on to sustain themselves, according to research at the University of Leicester. In a […]

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Astronomers Measure Magnetic Fields at Sagittarius A*

December 4, 2015

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Telescope Reveals Magnetic Fields at Milky Way's Central Black Hole

Using the Event Horizon Telescope, astronomers have measured the magnetic fields just outside the event horizon of Sagittarius A* for the first time. Most people think of black holes as giant vacuum cleaners sucking in everything that gets too close. But the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies are more like cosmic engines, […]

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Astrophysicists Get First Glimpse of a Black Hole Eating a Star and Ejecting a High-Speed Flare

November 30, 2015

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First Glimpse of Black Hole Eating Star

For the first time, a team of astrophysicists has witnessed a black hole swallowing a star and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light. The finding reported in the journal Science tracks the star—about the size of our sun—as it shifts from its customary path, slips into the gravitational pull […]

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Astronomers Discover a Black Hole That Grew Much Quicker Than Its Host Galaxy

November 27, 2015

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A Black Hole That Grew Much Quicker Than Its Host Galaxy

Researchers have discovered a black hole that grew much more quickly than its host galaxy. The discovery calls into question previous assumptions on the development of galaxies. In July 2015, researchers announced the discovery of a black hole, shown in the above illustration, that grew much more quickly than its host galaxy. The discovery calls […]

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Fermi Mission Reveals Hints of Gamma-Ray Cycle in Active Galaxy PG 1553+113

November 13, 2015

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Fermi Finds Hints of Gamma-ray Cycle in an Active Galaxy PG 1553+113

Using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has discovered hints of periodic changes in brightness in blazar PG 1553+113, whose emissions are powered by a supersized black hole. If confirmed, the discovery would mark the first years-long cyclic gamma-ray emission ever detected from any galaxy, which could provide new insights into physical […]

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Astronomers Link the Launching of the Corona to a Black Hole Flare

October 28, 2015

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Astronomers Link the Launching of the Corona to a Black Hole Flare

New observations from NASA’s Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, suggest that supermassive black holes send out beams of X-rays when their surrounding coronas shoot, or launch, away from the black holes. The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes have become somewhat less mysterious recently, with new observations from NASA’s Explorer missions Swift […]

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ASASSN-14li Provides an Excellent Opportunity to Study the Environment around a Black Hole

October 22, 2015

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Astronomers Witness Stellar Debris Being Blown Away After a Black Hole Destroyed the Star

Using three X-ray telescopes, astronomers have witnessed stellar debris being blown away after a black hole destroyed the star. This event, dubbed ASASSN-14li, is located in a galaxy about 290 million light years from Earth and it provides an excellent opportunity to study the extreme environment around a black hole. New details about what happens […]

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ESO Image of the Week: A Microlensing Mystery

October 7, 2015

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ESO Image of the Week Globular Cluster NGC 6553

This newly released image from the European Southern Observatory shows the globular cluster NGC 6553. This spectacular starry field of view shows the globular cluster NGC 6553 which is located approximately 19,000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius. In this field, astronomers discovered a mysterious microlensing event. Microlensing is a form of gravitational lensing […]

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Link Between Accretion Mode and Environment in Radio-Loud Active Galaxies Revealed

October 5, 2015

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The Environments of Radio-Bright Active Galaxies

A new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveals evidence that the cluster environment plays an important role in determining the nature of accretion onto the black hole. The nucleus of an active galaxy contains a massive black hole that is vigorously accreting material. In the process, the nucleus typically ejects jets of rapidly […]

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New Phoenix Cluster Observations Provide A Fresh Perspective

September 30, 2015

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New Chandra Observations and Images of the Phoenix Cluster

Astronomers have discovered giant holes, or cavities, in the hot gas that pervades the Phoenix Cluster, revealing new details about this remarkable system. Galaxy clusters are often described by superlatives. After all, they are huge conglomerations of galaxies, hot gas, and dark matter and represent the largest structures in the Universe held together by gravity. […]

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