Picture of the Day: The Heaviest Black Hole Ever Recorded

M87BlackHole1.jpg

At more than six trillion times the mass of the sun, nearby galaxy M87 is the most massive galaxy in the local universe. Using the Gemini North telescope, which sits on top of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, astronomer Karl Gebhardt and his team measured the speed of stars moving past the galactic center to estimate the mass of the black hole situated in the middle of M87.

"This is the biggest black hole in the nearby universe," Gebhardt said during a press conference at the University of Texas at Austin yesterday, according to Wired Science. For comparison, the black hole that sits in the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy is just four million times the mass of the sun. "In terms of the largest galaxies, it really is in our backyard," Gebhardt said. "Being so close to such a massive black hole allows us a remarkable chance to study what happens around a black hole."

The image shown above is an artist's rendition of the black hole.

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: Lynette Cook/Gemini Observatory/AURA. Via Wired Science.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In