Research NewsAstronomy

Just Another Billion-Sun Black Hole

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Science  15 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5243, pp. 1759
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5243.1759


By measuring the speed at which a disk of material is whirling at the center of a distant galaxy, astronomers have bagged their third supermassive black hole, this one in the galaxy NGC 4261. The observation, made with the Hubble Space Telescope, supports theorists' belief that a black hole powers the radiation emanating from the cores of active galaxies—the kind of galaxy that includes NGC 4261 and the two other known black-hole hosts. And it has set them to puzzling about how these black holes grew so big.