supermassive black hole

Magnetic Field May Be Keeping Milky Way’s Black Hole Quiet

Magnetic Field May Be Keeping Milky Way’s Black Hole Quiet

Supermassive black holes exist at the center of most galaxies, and our Milky Way is no exception. But many other galaxies have highly active black holes, meaning a lot of material is falling into them, emitting high-energy radiation in this “feeding” process. The Milky Way’s central black hole, on the other hand, is relatively quiet. New observations from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, are helping scientists understand the differences between active and quiet black holes.

Magnetic Fields May Be the Key to Black Hole Activity

Magnetic Fields May Be the Key to Black Hole Activity

Parallel jets provide astronomers with some of the most powerful evidence that a supermassive black hole lurks in the heart of most galaxies. Some of these black holes appear to be active, gobbling up material from their surroundings and launching jets at ultra-high speeds, while others are quiescent, even dormant.

Outflows from black holes are creating new molecules where there should only be destruction

Outflows from black holes are creating new molecules where there should only be destruction

During the 1960s, scientists discovered a massive radio source (known as Sagittarius A*) at the center of the Milky Way, which was later revealed to be a Supermassive Black Holes (SMBH). Since then, they have learned that these SMBHs reside at the center of most massive galaxies. The presence of these black holes is also what allows the centers of these galaxies to have a higher than normal luminosity – aka. Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs).

Stars orbiting supermassive black hole show Einstein was right again!

Stars orbiting supermassive black hole show Einstein was right again!

At the center of our galaxy, roughly 26,000 light years from Earth, lies the Supermassive Black Hole (SMBH) known as Sagittarius A*. Measuring 44 million km across, this object is roughly 4 million times as massive as our Sun and exerts a tremendous gravitational pull. Since astronomers cannot detect black holes directly, its existence has been determined largely from the effect it has on the small group of stars orbiting it.

Hubble detects supermassive black hole kicked out of galactic core

Hubble detects supermassive black hole kicked out of galactic core

An international team of astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the centre of the distant galaxy 3C186. The black hole was most likely ejected by the power of gravitational waves. This is the first time that astronomers found a supermassive black hole at such a large distance from its host galaxy centre.

Studies Find Echoes of Black Holes Eating Stars

Studies Find Echoes of Black Holes Eating Stars

Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects. When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole, the stellar material gets stretched and compressed -- or "spaghettified" -- as the black hole swallows it.

Starving Black Hole Returns Brilliant Galaxy to the Shadows

Starving Black Hole Returns Brilliant Galaxy to the Shadows

The mystery of a rare change in the behaviour of a supermassive black hole at the centre of a distant galaxy has been solved by an international team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope along with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. It seems that the black hole has fallen on hard times and is no longer being fed enough fuel to make its surroundings shine.

Only 6 million years ago, the Milky Way's supermassive black hole raged

Only 6 million years ago, the Milky Way's supermassive black hole raged

6 million years ago, when our first human ancestors were doing their thing here on Earth, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way was a ferocious place. Our middle-aged, hibernating black hole only munches lazily on small amounts of hydrogen gas these days. But when the first hominins walked the Earth, Sagittarius A was gobbling up matter and expelling gas at speeds reaching 1,000 km/sec. (2 million mph.)

Inside the Fiery Furnace - VLT Survey Telescope Captures the Fornax Cluster

Inside the Fiery Furnace - VLT Survey Telescope Captures the Fornax Cluster

This new image from the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile captures a spectacular concentration of galaxies known as the Fornax Cluster, which can be found in the southern hemisphere constellation of Fornax (The Furnace). The cluster plays host to a menagerie of galaxies of all shapes and sizes, some of which are hiding secrets.

‘Category 77 Hurricane’ Winds Found Near Supermassive Black Hole

‘Category 77 Hurricane’ Winds Found Near Supermassive Black Hole

New research by astrophysicists has revealed the fastest ultraviolet winds ever detected near a supermassive black hole more than 10 billion light-years away. “We’re talking wind speeds of 20 percent the speed of light, which is more than 200 million kilometers an hour. That’s equivalent to a category 77 hurricane,” says Jesse Rogerson, a Ph.D. student at York University in Canada. “And we have reason to believe that there are quasar winds that are even faster.”

What would happen if Earth fell into a black hole?

What would happen if Earth fell into a black hole?

Black holes have long been a source of much excitement and intrigue. And interest regarding black holes will surely grow now that gravitational waves have been discovered. Many of the questions I am asked regard how “true” science fiction concerning black holes might be, and whether worm holes, such as those featured in Stargate, are real or not. Invariably though, the one item that is almost assured to come up are the largely gruesome ways in which black holes might theoretically affect human beings and the Earth itself.

Here be dragons: the supermassive black hole that’s growing impossibly fast

Here be dragons: the supermassive black hole that’s growing impossibly fast

“Here be dragons” was a phrase once used on ancient maps, often accompanied by mythical sketches, to highlight an unexplored or potentially dangerous area. Astronomers might want to borrow this warning to label the centre of galaxies, which contain supermassive black holes.

Black Hole Has Major Flare

Black Hole Has Major Flare

The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes have become somewhat less mysterious recently, with new observations from NASA's Explorer missions Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR. The two space telescopes caught a supermassive black hole in the midst of a giant eruption of X-ray light, helping astronomers address an ongoing puzzle: How do supermassive black holes flare?