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Black Holes Encyclopedia

Latest Black Hole News


First Picture
A global network of radio telescopes has snapped the first image of a black hole, in the center of the galaxy M87, which is 55 million light-years from Earth. The black hole is about 6.5 billion times the mass of the Sun. The image was compiled by the Event Horizon Telescope, and used sophisticated computers to combine hundreds of hours of observations.
Event Horizon Telescope - April 10, 2019



Stretching Starlight
An observing campaign that has lasted for a quarter of a century has provided additional confirmation of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The observations showed that the black hole's gravity shifted the light of a passing star to longer, redder wavelengths, as predicted by Albert Einstein's theory of gravity.
European Southern Observatory - July 26, 2018


Young Beast
Astronomers have discovered the farthest known supermassive black hole, a behemoth about 800 million times the mass of the Sun that we see as it looked just 690 million years after the Big Bang, or roughly 13 billion years ago.
NASA - December 5, 2017

Event Horizons Stick Around
A new study says that event horizons really do exist. Some astronomers had posited that massive stars collapse to produce objects with solid surfaces, but the new research suggests that, instead, they form the standard model of a black hole, with all of the mass concentrated in a singularity, which is surrounded by a boundary known as the event horizon -- the point of no return for any matter or energy that falls into the black hole.
The University of Texas at Austin - May 30, 2017

Kicked Out
A quasar in a distant galaxy has been kicked out of the galaxy's heart. The quasar, which is a supermassive black hole surrounded by a brilliant disk of hot gas, may have gotten the boot when two smaller black holes merged, producing a torrent of gravitational waves that sent the merged black hole on a high-speed exit from the galaxy's center.
Space Telescope Science Institute - March 23, 2017

Too Close

A Sun-like star unwisely strayed too close to a black hole, where it was torn apart by the black hole's gravity. A NASA satellite tracked the star's demise.
NASA - March 20, 2017

Living Dangerously
Recent observations have detected a binary system in which a white dwarf may be orbiting as little as 600,000 miles from a companion black hole, making it the closest known companion to a black hole.
Chandra X-Ray Center - March 13, 2017


Jetting Away from a Black Hole
Astronomers watch a powerful jet of particles develop after a black hole demolished and began ingesting a star that passed too close.
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden - July 6, 2016

Massive Collapse
Astronomers have discovered evidence that gas in the universe collapsed to form a supermassive black hole.
University of Texas at Austin - July 6, 2016

Black Holes Galore
A new study suggests that gravitational-wave observatories eventually could detect hundreds of black hole mergers every year. The first direct detection of gravitational waves, announced earlier this year, came from the merger of two black holes more than one billion years ago.
Rochester Institute of Technology - June 22, 2016

Lighting Up a Black Hole
When an unlucky star passed to close to a supermassive black hole in a galaxy 3.9 billion light-years away, the black hole's gravity ripped the star apart, creating a brilliant flare and confirming the black hole's presence.
NASA - June 22, 2016

Lonely Giant
One of the most massive black holes yet discovered -- a behemoth weighing about 17 billion times as much as the Sun -- is in the center of a galaxy that's a member of a small galaxy cluster
Space Telescope Science Institute - April 4, 2016


Lonely Giant
One of the most massive black holes yet discovered -- a behemoth weighing about 17 billion times as much as the Sun -- is in the center of a galaxy that's a member of a small galaxy cluster

Space Telescope Science Institute - April 4, 2015


Stretching Out
A giant gas cloud is being ripped apart as it loops around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

European Southern Observatory - June 25, 2014


Galactic History Lesson
A supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy NGC 1365 is rotating rapidly, which reveals important details about its formation and the environment of the galaxy that surrounds it.

ESA - February 27, 2013


Texas Astronomers Measure Unusual Giant Black Hole
A black hole in a relatively close galaxy is not only one of the most massive yet discovered, it accounts for far more of the galaxy's total mass than any other yet seen.

McDonald Observatory - November 29, 2012

Getting Closer
Using techniques that cancel out much of the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere, astronomers have discovered a star that races around the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way once every 11 years, which puts it closer to the black hole than any other star yet seen. The discovery will allow scientists to probe the black hole's effects on spacetime.

UCLA Newsroom - October 5, 2012

Doubling Up
A recent study revealed two black holes at the center of M22, a globular cluster in the Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers were looking for evidence of an intermediate-mass black hole (several hundred to several thousand times the mass of the Sun) in the cluster, but instead found two black holes, each of which is about 10-20 times the mass of the Sun.

NRAO News - October 5, 2012

Black-Hole Bonanza
Images from an infrared space telescope show evidence of millions of dust-enshrouded supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

NASA JPL - August 29, 2012

Black Hole Growth Found to be Out of Synch
A study using Chandra X-Ray Observatory has found that the black hole in the center of NGC 4342 is heavier in relation to the surrounding bulge of stars than the black holes in most galaxies.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory - June 11, 2012

Telescopes on the ground and in space caught a black hole ripping apart a star and ingesting some of its remains.

NASA - May 3, 2012

Small and Distant
Astronomers from the United Kingdom have found the most distant stellar-mass black hole yet discovered. It is about 12 million light-years away in Centaurus A, a galaxy that is known to have a supermassive black hole in its core.

Royal Astronomical Society - March 27, 2012

Little Snacks for the Milky Way's Black Hole
Small flares in the X-ray light from the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy may erupt when the black hole "snacks" on asteroids.

Chandra Web Site - February 8, 2012


New Heavyweight Champions
An international team of astronomers has measured the masses of the heaviest black holes yet confirmed: two galactic behemoths that top the scales at about 10 billion times the mass of the Sun.

McDonald Observatory - December 7, 2011

Infrared Satellite Sees Wild 'Jet'
An infrared satellite has watched the "jet" of material from a black hole vary in size and intensity.

NASA - September 19, 2011

Researchers Detail How A Distant Black Hole Devoured A Star
An orbiting X-ray satellite has been watching a supermassive black hole devour a star since March 2011.

NASA - August 22, 2011

Black Hole Holds More Water Than 100 Trillion Oceans
A quasar that's 12 billion light-years away is encircled by a massive disk of material that includes water -- more than 100 trillion times as much water as fills Earth's oceans.

NASA - July 22, 2011

Merging Galaxies Have Two Supermassive Black Holes
A survey by two space-based X-ray observatories has found that the merging galaxies known as NGC 3758 have two supermassive black holes, which are separated by just 11,000 light-years. Each black hole is gorging on stars and gas around it, producing huge amounts of energy.

NASA - June 10, 2011

Windy Black Holes
Powerful galactic winds observed by a space-based observatory support the idea that supermassive black holes shut down star formation in the centers of galaxies.

ESA News - May 9, 2011

Texas Astronomers 'Weigh' Heaviest Known Black Hole
New observations show that the black hole at the center of the galaxy M87 is about 6.6 billion times as massive as the Sun, making it the most massive black hole in our cosmic neighborhood.

McDonald Observatory - January 13, 2011

Taking the Pulse of a Black Hole System
The disk of hot gas around a stellar-mass black hole “beats” every 50 seconds, as it produces enormous bursts of X-rays that heat the gas and create strong “winds” of charged particles.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory - January 12, 2011

Puny Galaxy, Big Black Hole
Black holes can lurk at the centers of even the smallest galaxies. An example is Henize 2-10, a galaxy that is just three percent the diameter of the Milky Way. Astronomers have discovered a black hole in its core that is several million times the mass of the Sun.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory - January 9, 2011


Astronomers Discover Possible Infant Black Hole
Observations by several orbiting X-ray telescopes have revealed a possible black hole in the nearby galaxy Messier 100. The black hole was born just 31 years ago (as seen from Earth), making it the youngest black hole ever discovered.

NASA - November 15, 2010

Bad Neighbors
The supermassive black holes in the early universe were bad neighbors. Winds and radiation from the super-hot disks of gas around them may have prevented galaxies around them from growing.

Hubble News Center - October 7, 2010

M31 Black Hole Gets Frisky
Giant eruptions mimic processes on the Sun.

StarDate - May 25, 2010

Black Hole Runs Away
A supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy appears to be on the lam, zipping away from the galaxy's center at high speed.

Netherlands Institute for Space Research - May 10, 2010


M87 Black Hole Bulks Up
A recent study that considered the mass of a galaxy's dark matter concluded that the black hole at the center of M87 is even more massive than thought -- up to seven billion times as massive as the Sun.

McDonald Observatory - June 8, 2009

Tough Stellar Infants Survive Black Hole Neighborhood
Even though the region around a supermassive black hole can be cemetery for stars, astronomers have discovered that it can also serve as a stellar nursery.

StarDate - January 5, 2009


Whirling Around the Milky Way
European astronomers have monitored the orbits of about 30 stars in the center of the Milky Way galaxy to learn more about the galaxy's central black hole and the environment around it.
ESO News - December 10, 2008

Most Black Holes Might Come in Only Small and Large
A study of a star cluster that found no evidence of a black hole suggests that black holes come in two basic sizes, with only a sprinkling of "mediums."

NASA - August 20, 2008

A New Way to Weigh Giant Black Holes
How do you weigh the biggest black holes in the universe? One answer now comes from a completely new and independent technique that astronomers have developed using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Chandra X-Ray Observatory - July 16, 2008

Black Holes May 'Wind Up' Spiral Galaxies
Astronomers may soon be able to “weigh” the supermassive black holes in the hearts of spiral galaxies just by measuring how tightly their spiral arms wrap around their cores, according to early results of a project led by Marc Seigar of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

StarDate magazine - June 2, 2008

Astronomers Find Suspected Medium-Sized Black Hole in Omega Centauri
A well-known star cluster that glitters with the light of millions of stars may have a mysterious dark object tugging at its core, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

McDonald Observatory News - April 2, 2008

Scientists Identify Smallest Known Black Hole
A black hole in a star system known as XTE J1650-500 is the smallest and least-massive black hole yet discovered, at less than four times the mass of the Sun. That is close to the expected limit for how small a black hole can be. 
NASA - April 1, 2008

'Rogue' Black Holes Patrol Milky Way
If you ever travel through the galaxy in a starship, keep an eye open for “rogue” black holes. Hundreds of these refugees from globular star clusters may populate the Milky Way, with masses of 10 to several thousand times the Sun’s and speeds of several million miles per hour.

StarDate magazine - January 14, 2008

Binary Black Hole Sets New Weight Record
It’s hard to think of a black hole that is 100 million times as massive as the Sun as “little.” But in a quasar known as OJ 287, that may be the case. The black hole appears to orbit another black hole that’s the most massive yet discovered — about 18 billion times the mass of the Sun, which is several times heavier than any other black hole yet measured.

StarDate - January 1, 2008

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