A Really Big Black Hole

ExtremeBlackHoleAstronomers have used the Chandra X-ray Observatory and a group of other telescopes to reveal one of the most powerful black holes known. It has created enormous structures in the hot gas surrounding it and has prevented trillions of stars from forming.

The black hole is in a galaxy cluster named RX J1532.9+3021 (RX J1532 for short) about 3.9 billion light years from Earth. This image is a composite of X-ray data from Chandra revealing hot gas in the cluster in purple and visible data from the Hubble Space Telescope showing galaxies in yellow. The cluster is very bright in X-rays which indicates it is extremely massive, with a mass about a quadrillion—that’s a thousand trillion—times that of the Sun. At the center of the cluster is the large elliptical galaxy containing the supermassive black hole.

Image Credit: NASA

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