StarDate Online logoContact StarDate | About StarDate | Friends of McDonald | Sign up for SkyTips
Black Holes Encyclopedia
Stats

Type

Supermassive

Location

In the constellation Canes Venatici

Distance

14 million light-years (4.3 megaparsecs)

Mass

360,000 times the mass of the Sun

Size

Slightly larger than 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: July 8, 2013.

Images