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Apr 28, 2019

Supermassive Black Hole Resides Inside a Supermassive Galaxy

Posted by in category: cosmology

The eyes of the world turned to Messier 87 earlier this month when scientists released the first ever image of a black hole. And this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope shows more about the giant galaxy in which the now-famous black hole resides.

The imaged black hole was truly gargantuan, with a mass equivalent to 6.5 billion times that of our Sun. And the galaxy surrounding it, Messier 87, is equally huge. Known as a supergiant elliptical galaxy, it is one of the most massive galaxies in the universe and hosts a large number of globular clusters.

The image captured by Spitzer shows the galaxy in infrared, as opposed to the radio wavelengths used to capture the black hole image. The infrared light coming from the galaxy at wavelengths of 3.6 and 4.5 microns is shown in blue and green, which is what marks the stars in the image. The areas of red are dust features which glow with a wavelength of 8.0 microns.

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