Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, June 18, 1998 Published at 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK


Sci/Tech

Hubble finds huge black hole

The Hubble photograph shows the debris surrounding the huge black hole

The Hubble Space Telescope has done it again, this time taking a dramatic picture of a disk of debris circling a black hole embedded in a distant galaxy. Our science correspondent David Whitehouse reports:

The image of the central region of the galaxy NGC 7052 looks so small but the true scale of the features seen within it is staggering.

Hubble has seen a gigantic disk of debris at the core of a distant galaxy. It is believed that this disk is the wreckage of an ancient galaxy collision. In the distant future, it will be swallowed by the black hole.


[ image: NGC 7052: a giant so-called elliptical galaxy]
NGC 7052: a giant so-called elliptical galaxy
The disk is 3,700 light years across. For comparison, the nearest star to our sun is just four light years away.

Calculations based on the rotational velocity of the disk indicate that it is spinning around a black hole that is 300 million times more massive than our sun.

The disk contains enough raw material to make three-million sun-like stars.

The bright spot in the centre of the disk is the combined light of stars that have crowded around the central black hole due to its strong pull of gravity.

NGC 7052 is a giant so-called elliptical galaxy. It is a different class of galaxy from our own Milky Way. It is believed that ellipticals form from the merger of many smaller galaxies that took place when the universe was young.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |


Sci/Tech Contents

In this section

World's smallest transistor

Scientists join forces to study Arctic ozone

Mathematicians crack big puzzle

From Business
The growing threat of internet fraud

Who watches the pilots?

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer