Latest Supermassive black holes Stories

2010-07-22 06:39:06

Scientists have found evidence that a giant black hole has been jerked around twice, causing its spin axis to point in a different direction from before. This discovery, made with new data from NASA's Chandra X- ray Observatory, might explain several mysterious-looking objects found throughout the Universe. The axis of the spinning black hole is thought to have moved, but not the black hole itself, so this result differs from recently published work on recoiling black holes. "We think this is...

2010-07-19 07:10:00

Astronomers use infrared "eyes" to shed light on black holes. A new infrared image has captured the center of our galaxy in never-before-seen detail--showing stars and gas swirling into the super massive black hole that lurks at the heart of our own Milky Way. "We can't actually see a black hole because, by definition, no light comes out from it," says University of Florida astronomer Steve Eikenberry. "What we can see, though, is the material around the black hole. As the material spirals...

2010-07-11 08:25:00

Galaxies like our own were built billions of years ago from a deluge of giant clouds of gas, some of which continue to rain down. Now new calculations tie the rain of giant clouds of gas to active galactic nuclei (AGN), the extremely bright centers of some galaxies. If a gas cloud with millions of times more mass than our Sun wanders too close to the center of a galaxy, it can either be consumed by the supermassive black hole that lurks there or, through shocks and collapse, give birth to new...

2010-07-07 13:35:00

Combining observations made with ESO's Very Large Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope, astronomers have uncovered the most powerful pair of jets ever seen from a stellar black hole. This object, also known as a microquasar, blows a huge bubble of hot gas, 1000 light-years across, twice as large and tens of times more powerful than other known microquasars. The discovery is reported this week in the journal Nature. "We have been astonished by how much energy is injected into the gas...

2010-07-01 06:20:00

Evidence for a recoiling black hole has been found using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, XMM-Newton, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and several ground-based telescopes. This black hole kickback was caused either by a slingshot effect produced in a triple black hole system, or from the effects of gravitational waves produced after two supermassive black holes merged a few million years earlier. The discovery of this object, located in this composite image, comes from a large,...

2010-06-01 13:25:00

Going against the grain may turn out to be a powerful move for black holes. New research suggests supermassive black holes that spin backwards might produce more ferocious jets of gas. The results have broad implications for how galaxies change over time. "A lot of what happens in an entire galaxy depends on what's going on in the miniscule central region where the black hole lies," said theoretical astrophysicist David Garofalo of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif....

2010-05-25 14:01:50

Previous galaxy merger is likely cause A team of astronomy researchers at Florida Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States and University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, find that the supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center of the most massive local galaxy (M87) is not where it was expected. Their research, conducted using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), concludes that the SMBH in M87 is displaced from the galaxy center. The most likely cause...

2010-05-25 08:50:00

For over 10 years, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has repeatedly observed the Andromeda Galaxy for a combined total of nearly one million seconds. This unique data set has given astronomers an unprecedented view of the nearest supermassive black hole outside our own Galaxy. Astronomers think that most galaxies - including the Milky Way - contain giant black holes at their cores that are millions of times more massive than the Sun. At a distance of just under 3 million light years from...

2010-05-24 11:07:58

NASA will hold a media teleconference Wednesday, May 26, at 1 p.m. EDT, to discuss new results from the Swift satellite's survey of active black holes. Swift's hard X-ray survey detects supermassive black holes in the hearts of nearby galaxies that are absorbing gas and emitting energy. The survey has uncovered dozens of previously unknown active black holes that were hidden from observations at other wavelengths. These discoveries confirm theoretical ideas about how black hole activity is...

2010-05-11 10:00:00

Supermassive black holes with the mass of many millions of stars have been detected at the center of many large galaxies. A super-massive black hole acts like a lurking "monster" at the center of the galaxy which swallows the surrounding material through the intensity of its gravitational pull. X-ray observations indicate that a large amount of energy is produced by the in-fall of matter into a black hole, and ejected in powerful jets. Astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for...

Latest Supermassive black holes Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Supermassive Black Hole -- A Supermassive black hole is a black hole with a mass in the range of millions or billions solar masses. A supermassive black hole has some interesting properties differing from his low-mass cousins: -- The average density of a supermassive black hole can be very low, and actually can be lower than water's density. This happens because the black hole diameter increases linearly with mass, and consequently density drops much faster. -- Strong tidal...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Seyfert Galaxy -- Seyfert galaxies are spiral or irregular galaxies containing an extremely bright nucleus, most likely caused by a supermassive black hole, that can sometimes outshine the surrounding galaxy. The light from the central nucleus varies in less than a year, which implies that the emitting region must be less than one light year across. They are named for the astronomer Carl Seyfert, who studied them extensively in the 1940s. They are a subclass of active galactic nuclei....

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Quasar -- A quasar (from quasi-stellar radio source) is an astronomical object that looks like a star in optical telescopes (i.e. it is a point source), but has a very high redshift. The general consensus is that this high redshift is cosmological, the result of Hubble's law and that their redshift indicates that they are typically very distant from Earth; we observe them as they were several billions of years ago. Since we can see them despite their distance, they must emit more...

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Word of the Day
  • The navel or umbilicus.
  • In Greek archaeology: A central boss, as on a shield, a bowl, etc.
  • A sacred stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, believed by the Greeks to mark the 'navel' or exact center-point of the earth.
'Omphalos' comes from the ancient Greek.