A galaxy far, far away

A galaxy far, far away

Blobs of gas circle a supermassive black hole in the heart of
Markarian 776, a galaxy about 170 million light-years away, in this
artist’s concept. Astronomers using the orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray
observatory discovered the blobs of gas, which are several hundred
million miles from the black hole.
Blobs of gas circle a supermassive black hole in the heart of Markarian 776, a galaxy about 170 million light-years away, in this artist’s concept. Astronomers using the orbiting XMM-Newton X-ray observatory discovered the blobs of gas, which are several hundred million miles from the black hole. Although they are as far out as Jupiter is from the Sun, they complete one orbit in just a day, compared to 12 years for Jupiter. These speedy orbits tell astronomers that the blobs are orbiting something that is extremely massive – a black hole as big as the one in the center of our own galaxy. \

Photo courtesy of NASA.

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