Thursday, 29 November 2012

‘Overmassive’ black hole holds the mass of 17 billion suns

A very quick post tonight. I was interviewed to comment on the discovery of a very massive black hole, much more massive than we would expect from the galaxy in which it is found.

This is a big black hole. Say it slowly... 17 billion times more massive than the Sun. That is a lot of mass in a very small volume.

The article is presented in The Conversation. You can read it here, and, as ever, I am happy to address any questions in the comments spot below.

Black holes. You have to love them!

2 comments:

  1. That is an impressive black hole!

    It's in a fairly obscure galaxy in Perseus and I've tracked down an image showing the galaxy as one of a cluster at redshift 0.17:

    http://spider.seds.org/ngc/ngcdss.cgi?obj=NGC!1277&r=3:19.8&d=+41:34&e=J2000&h=15&w=15&f=GIF&c=none

    I'm not convinced the red image from "The Conversation" is even NGC 1277. (The image is also published in many other news items on this topic, so I know it isn't your image).

    I would like to know if you think it is a genuine image? If so, at what wavelength? Is it purporting to actually show the evidence of a black hole at the centre? Or is it a hyped up picture for the consumption of the mass media?

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  2. Yes, it is an image of NGC 1277 - They imaged it in a narrow V filter and wide r filter.

    Compare it to this ground based images

    http://cseligman.com/text/atlas/ngc1275wide.jpg

    You can see the same stars and small galaxy near NGC 1277.

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