Picture of the Day: The Heaviest Black Hole Ever Recorded

More

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.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


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

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In