An artist’s impression of a “string” passing near a black hole. As the string approaches the black hole, it is gradually stretched. Then, as it moves past the black hole, it begins to vibrate. The image to the left, which was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, represents the shadow […]

Chandra data may have revealed the most distant known supermassive black hole with an X-ray jet. The source of this jet is a quasar (a rapidly growing black hole) at the center of a young galaxy about 12.7 billion light years from Earth. The first panel is an artist’s illustration […]

A supernova-like explosion dubbed the Camel appears to be the result of a newborn black hole eating a star from the inside out. PHOTOGRAPH: SAKKMESTERKE/SCIENCE SOURCE IN 2018, ASTRONOMERS were shocked to find a bizarre explosion in a galaxy 200 million light-years away. It wasn’t like any normal supernova seen before—it was […]

ANIMATION Scientists have long theorized that supermassive black holes can wander through space—but catching them in the act has proven difficult. Now, researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have identified the clearest case to date of a supermassive black hole in motion. Their results are published today (March […]

ANIMATION What is the origin of black holes and how is that question connected with another mystery, the nature of dark matter? Dark matter comprises the majority of matter in the Universe, but its nature remains unknown. Multiple gravitational wave detections of merging black holes have been identified within the […]

Smoothed soft band (0.5 – 1.2 keV) Chandra image of NGC 1600. Credit: James Runge and Stephen A. Walker, 2021. Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory, astronomers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville have investigated the central region of the galaxy NGC 1600, focusing on its ultramassive black hole (UMBH). […]

Quasars are the most energetic objects in the universe, which is why astronomers can observe them from so far away. Credit: NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/J. da Silva Nearly every galaxy hosts a monster at its center — a supermassive black holemillions to billions times the size of the Sun. While there’s still much to […]

An artist’s impression of two black holes about to collide and merge. The merger of two black holes in a binary system emits energy that can be detected on Earth by gravitational-wave observatories. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the VIRGO Collaboration have announced tens of confident detections of such mergers to date. […]

An artist’s impression of quasar J0313-1806 showing the supermassive black hole and the extremely high velocity wind. The quasar, seen just 670 million years after the Big Bang, is 1000 times more luminous than the Milky Way, and is powered by the earliest known supermassive black hole, which weighs in […]