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supermassive black hole with accretion disk

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Black Holes Grow by Gas, Not Mergers, Most of Their Lives

Calculations suggest how black holes have amassed mass and predict what the black holes’ spins should be if this picture is correct.

illustration of triple system HR 6819

Black Holes

Closest Black Hole to Earth? Maybe

An international team of astronomers says that they’ve discovered the closest black hole to Earth — an invisible object dancing with two large, bright stars 1,000 light-years away.

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Scientists Predict Countless Rings of Light Encircle Black Holes

Detailed calculations reveal a surprise about how black holes bend light around themselves, opening a new possibility for future observations.

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Bubbles, Heated Clouds Point to Active Past for Galactic Center

Two studies support the suspicion that our galaxy’s black hole had one or more outbursts a few million years ago.

Black Holes

Video: Black Hole Warps Light

The hypnotizing effect of a black hole on its surroundings appears to dramatic effect in this simulation.

Event Horizon Telescope 2017

Black Holes

How Does the Event Horizon Telescope Work?

The Event Horizon Telescope creates the image of a black hole shadow thanks to the precise coordination of a worldwide telescope network. Here’s how they do it.

shadow image of M87

Black Holes

Scientists Unveil First Black Hole Image

The Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has reconstructed the shadow of a supermassive black hole.

primordial black hole illo

Black Holes

Could Dark Matter Be Black Holes?

Astronomers are reconsidering primordial black holes as an answer to the invisible matter mystery, but recent observations disfavor at least some sizes of black hole.

Sgr A*

Black Holes

Piercing the Veil of Our Black Hole

Astronomers have overcome the interference of clumpy interstellar gas to catch a glimpse of the gas around the Milky Way’s central black hole.

wormhole mouth

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

Science Fiction Wormholes Don’t Exist

Hoping for faster-than-light travel? Wormholes aren't the paths you're looking for.

Storm on Saturn, Photo by Damian Peach

Explore the Night with Bob King

Big Scope Breakout: New Supernovae, Novae, Bright Spot on Saturn

The sky's been bursting with exploding stars this season. Plus there's a new storm on Saturn. What's a skywatcher to do? Haul out the scope!

protostar cloud

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

First Black Holes Maybe Had Supersonic Help

Gas flows in the early universe may have kept clouds from collapsing too soon, enabling them to grow into massive black hole seeds.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Nights of the Living Dead — What Stars Leave Behind

Stars leave interesting messes after they die: diamond-studded puffballs, neutron stars, and black holes. We explore an example of each in June's night skies.

merging black holes

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

LIGO Detects Third Black Hole Merger

Scientists with the gravitational-wave observatory announce another discovery, this time of a black hole merger twice as far away as previous detections.

two black holes in the moments before a catastrophic collision

Black Holes

LIGO Detects Second Black Hole Collision

The gravitational wave observatory has detected a second event, heralding a new era in astrophysics. The day after Christmas last year, the cosmos quietly gifted scientists with gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime – produced in a collision between two stellar-mass black holes. It’s the second event…

Black Holes

Best Evidence Yet That Black Holes Exist

A team of astronomers has found indirect evidence of a supermassive black hole’s event horizon, providing further proof that these wacky objects actually exist in nature.

ULX in M82

Stellar Science

No Big Black Hole for Two ULXs

Two new studies suggest that ultraluminous X-ray sources are not all created by beefy black holes.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

How is Time Changed Inside a Black Hole?

Because black holes severely warp the fabric of spacetime, they have a curious effect on the passage of time as seen by an outside observer.

Supermassive black hole, NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomy Questions & Answers

Sizes of Black Holes: How Big is a Black Hole?

Black holes are singularities: points of infinitely small volume with infinite density. However, the amount of a mass concentrated in a black hole varies, and the mass determines how wide the black hole's sphere of influence is.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

Are Black Holes Real? If so, Who Discovered Them?

The concept of a black hole was first contrived in by John Michell 1783. For a long time, many notable scientists, including Albert Einstein, believed black holes were merely theoretical. However, in the last century, astronomers have gathered a good deal of observational evidence for the existence of black holes.