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Black Holes Encyclopedia
Stats

Alternate Names

IC 4625

Type

Supermassive

Location

in the constellation Ophiuchus

Distance

320 million light-years (98 megaparsecs)

Mass

870 million to 2 billion times the mass of the Sun

Size

Diameter roughly equal to the diameter of Uranus' or Neptune's orbit around the Sun

Discovery Methods

Description

Measuring the motions of stars

Because a black hole is both massive and compact, it exerts a strong gravitational pull on the material around it. Astronomers can deduce the presence of a supermassive black hole in the core of a galaxy by measuring the velocities of stars that orbit the black hole. A more-massive black hole will accelerate nearby stars to greater speeds, so the velocities of stars can reveal not only the presence of a black hole, but its mass as well.

More about black hole discovery methods »















This document was last modified: May 1, 2013.