A barred galaxy's massive molecular inflow

Large amounts of gas are sometimes funneled to a galaxy's nuclear regions, with profound consequences. The gas triggers starburst activity and can also feed the supermassive black hole, converting it into an active galactic ...

Black holes like to eat, but have a variety of table manners

All supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies appear to have periods when they swallow matter from their close surroundings. But that is about as far as the similarities go. That's the conclusion reached by British ...

Hubble takes a spiral snapshot

The luminous heart of the galaxy M61 dominates this image, framed by its winding spiral arms threaded with dark tendrils of dust. As well as the usual bright bands of stars, the spiral arms of M61 are studded with ruby-red ...

Hubble spots double quasars in merging galaxies

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is "seeing double." Peering back 10 billion years into the universe's past, Hubble astronomers found a pair of quasars that are so close to each other they look like a single object in ground-based ...

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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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