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Mrk 533 in Hickson 96 compact group of galaxies

Black Holes

Supermassive Black Holes Discovered in Close Tango

Astronomers have found what could be the closest known pair of supermassive black holes detected via direct imaging, orbiting each other only a light-year apart.

Supermassive black hole binary (art)

Black Holes

Supermassive Black Holes Observed in Close Dance

Astronomers monitoring a tight pair of supermassive black holes have observed their orbital motion.

Wind flowing out of a barred spiral galaxy


Ring Found Around a Galaxy’s “Hidden” Black Hole

A team of astronomers has taken a close look at a nearby galaxy — and discovered an unusual structure that sheds light on supermassive black holes’ relationships with their host galaxies.

Merged supermassive black hole, 3C 186

Black Holes

Gravitational Waves Dethrone Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole not sitting in its customary seat at the center of its galaxy. Gravitational waves from a recent merger may have ejected the black hole.

Black hole winds

Black Holes

Swift Black Hole Winds May Shape Galaxy

Winds that charge away from supermassive black holes at a fraction of the speed of light have long been mysterious and even contentious. Now, new evidence sheds light on their origins.

Decade-long tidal disruption event

Black Holes

Black Hole Feeds on Star for a Decade

Unlucky stars serve as brilliant but short-lived snacks when they wander too close to supermassive black holes. But one such black hole is still gnawing on its stellar meal after a decade.

Black Holes

Milky Way’s Black Hole Is Throwing Cosmic Spitballs

Every now and then, the Milky Way’s central, supermassive black hole tears apart a star and flings away some of its innards. Now astronomers think they know how to spot these cosmic spitballs.

Tangled dust filaments around NGC 4696


Hubble Images Tangled Web in Nearby Galaxy

A Hubble image of a nearby, massive elliptical galaxy reveals tenuous filaments that appear to be connected to the growth of the galaxy's supermassive black hole.

Black hole flees massive galaxy

Black Holes

Runaway Black Hole Flees Behemoth Galaxy

Astronomers have spotted a supermassive black hole in a stripped-down galaxy racing away from a near-fatal close encounter in the center of a galaxy cluster.

artist's impression of a black hole

Black Holes

Astronomers Gauge Spin in Black Hole Duo

Astronomers have measured the spin of one of the universe's most massive black holes — and provided evidence that the behemoth has a companion.

SDSS J1011+5442, the missing quasar

Black Holes

The Case of the Disappearing Quasar

When a quasar, a black hole-fueled beacons that shines from across the cosmos, went dark, astronomers set out to find out why.

Black Holes

Setting Limits to Black Hole Gluttony

Black holes may have a limit to how much they can eat in the public eye.

Comin' at ya' Baby

Black Holes

Mystery Signal from a Black Hole-Powered Jet

Astronomers have spotted what appears to be a regular signal coming from the blazar PG 1553+113.

Supermassive black hole binary

Black Holes

Does the Nearest Quasar Host a Black Hole Binary?

Astronomers are investigating a new technique for finding close pairs of supermassive black holes, and they might have found one in the nearest quasar.

gas spiraling toward binary black hole

Black Holes

New Evidence for Black Hole Binary

Astronomers have confirmed that the quasar PG 1302-102 is probably a binary supermassive black hole, its members less than a tenth of a light-year apart.

dwarf disk galaxy RGG 118

Black Holes

Teeny Supermassive Black Hole

Astronomers have identified the smallest supermassive black hole ever detected in a galaxy’s center.

Black Holes

Revealing Hidden Black Holes

The NuSTAR telescope has spied high-energy X-rays from five supermassive black holes shrouded in a thick veil of dust and gas, a test run that will lead to a better census of these hidden beasts.

Black Holes

Black Hole Too Big for its Breeches

A supermassive black hole in the early universe is at least 10 times too heavy for its host galaxy, raising questions about galaxy and black hole coevolution.

NGC 5972 and the ghost of quasars past


Hubble Investigates Ghosts of Quasars Past

A galaxy-size blob of gas discovered eight years ago by a Dutch schoolteacher has galvanized the study of the spectral remains of once-bright quasars.

black hole binary artist's impression

Black Holes

Black Hole Binary En Route to Merger?

Astronomers poring through two decades of archival and survey observations have discovered what looks like a pair of supermassive black holes closing in for a merger.