Hidden black hole found in extragalactic star cluster

Astronomers have just unveiled a black hole from another galaxy, hiding deep within a bright cluster of a thousand stars. The black hole doesn’t emit any light visible to telescopes; its presence was betrayed by its gravitational influence on the nearby stars. This marks the first time that a black hole has been spotted outside … Continue reading Hidden black hole found in extragalactic star cluster

Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke

Astronomers have just watched the evolution of streamers of gas around an active black hole – and they look a bit like the smoke produced by a volcanic eruption. The team used the ultra-sensitive Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) in the Netherlands, as well as the Spektr-RG space observatory, to study a system of 20 galaxies called … Continue reading Black holes belch out intergalactic smoke

How big is a black hole? Watch how it eats

A new study in Science has revealed that the feeding patterns of a black hole can tell us about its size. Supermassive black holes (SMBH) are voracious, using their powerful gravitational pull to gobble up immense amounts of gas, dust and stars. When actively consuming matter, they release dazzling bursts of radiation-like burps, in flickering … Continue reading How big is a black hole? Watch how it eats

Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Astronomers have detected six galaxies lying around a supermassive black hole when the Universe was less than a billion years old. It is the first time such a close grouping has been seen so soon after the Big Bang, they say, and the finding supports the theory that black holes can grow rapidly within large, … Continue reading Galaxies trapped in web of a giant black hole

Why we love black holes

In the pantheon of astronomical objects, black holes are among the most amazing. Not only do they swallow large amounts of matter into a void beyond ordinary comprehension, but they are messy eaters, ejecting the dregs of their meals in fierce jets that make them among the most energetic objects in the Universe. All of … Continue reading Why we love black holes

Black hole’s heart still beating strongly

The first confirmed “heartbeat” of a supermassive black hole is still going strong more than a decade after first being observed, according to Chinese and British astronomers. That makes it the longest-lived ever seen in a black hole, they say, and tells us more about the size and structure close to its event horizon – … Continue reading Black hole’s heart still beating strongly

Star dance around a black hole

After nearly three decades of work, scientists have revealed that a star orbiting the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way moves as predicted by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.  They say observations made with ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) show that its orbit is shaped like a rosette, not like an ellipse … Continue reading Star dance around a black hole

A close look at a black hole’s jet

Creating the first direct image of a black hole is a hard act to follow, but it seems there are more goodies to be had from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration. A year on, astronomers say they have extracted new information from data EHT collected on the distant quasar 3C 279 and observed a jet produced by a … Continue reading A close look at a black hole’s jet

Quasar tsunamis rip through space

This artist’s concept of a distant galaxy with an active quasar at its centre shows the large amount of energy generated by a supermassive black hole. Fuelled by infalling matter, the pressure from the blistering radiation from the black hole pushes material away from the galaxy centre at a fraction of the speed of light, … Continue reading Quasar tsunamis rip through space

Star flung across the galaxy

  A star travelling through the Milky Way at more than six million km/h has been discovered by a team of international astronomers. They predict that the star was flung from the centre of our galaxy by a supermassive black hole around five million years ago. The star will leave the Milky Way, never to … Continue reading Star flung across the galaxy