Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT
 NASAs Hubble Space Telescope Resolves a Dark x Across the
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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Resolves a Dark "x" Across the Nucleus of M51

February 5, 2005
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has provided astronomers with what may be their first direct view of an immense ring of dust which fuels a massive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy M51, located 20 million light-years away. Surprisingly, they found that the ring is standing almost perpendicularly to the relatively flat spiral galaxy, like a top spinning on its side with respect to the floor. Even more surprising is the discovery of a secondary ring or dust lane which is contrary to all expectations.