Spotting merging galaxies

Over 30 years ago, the Infrared Astronomy Satellite discovered that the universe contained many extremely luminous galaxies, some more than a thousand times brighter than our own Milky Way, but which are practically invisible ...

Virtual 'universe machine' sheds light on galaxy evolution

How do galaxies such as our Milky Way come into existence? How do they grow and change over time? The science behind galaxy formation has remained a puzzle for decades, but a University of Arizona-led team of scientists is ...

Evidence found for cloaked black hole in early universe

A group of astronomers, including Penn State scientists, has announced the likely discovery of a highly obscured black hole existing only 850 million years after the Big Bang, using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This ...

ALMA dives into black hole's 'sphere of influence'

What happens inside a black hole stays inside a black hole, but what happens inside a black hole's "sphere of influence"—the innermost region of a galaxy where a black hole's gravity is the dominant force—is of intense ...

Astronomers reveal true colors of evolving galactic beasts

Astronomers have identified a rare moment in the life of some of the universe's most energetic objects. Quasars were first observed 60 years ago, but their origins still remain a mystery. Now researchers at Durham University, ...

How black holes shape galaxies

Data from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has revealed how supermassive black holes shape their host galaxies with powerful winds that sweep away interstellar matter.

Hubble discovers mysterious black hole disc

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed an unexpected thin disc of material encircling a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away.

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Supermassive black hole

A supermassive black hole is a black hole with a mass of the order of between 105 and 1010 solar masses. Most, if not all, galaxies, including the Milky Way, are believed to contain supermassive black holes at their centers.

Supermassive black holes have properties which distinguish them from their relatively low-mass cousins:

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