Supermassive Black Holes Feed on Cosmic Jellyfish

ESO’s MUSE instrument on the VLT discovers new way to fuel black holes Observations of “Jellyfish galaxies” with ESO’s Very Large Telescope have revealed a previously unknown way to fuel supermassive black holes. It seems the mechanism that produces the tentacles of gas and newborn stars that give these galaxies their nickname also makes it … Read more

Early Black Holes May Have Grown in Fits and Spurts

A long-standing question in astrophysics is: how and when did supermassive black holes appear and grow in the early universe? New research using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) suggests that an answer to this question lies with the intermittent way giant black holes may consume material in the first … Read more

Discovery in the early universe poses black hole growth puzzle

Quasars are luminous objects with supermassive black holes at their centres, visible over vast cosmic distances. Infalling matter increases the black hole mass and is also responsible for a quasar’s brightness. Now, using the W.M. Keck observatory in Hawaii, astronomers led by Christina Eilers have discovered extremely young quasars with a puzzling property: these quasars … Read more

Starving black hole returns brilliant galaxy to the shadows

The mystery of a rare change in the behaviour of a supermassive black hole at the centre of a distant galaxy has been solved by an international team of astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope along with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. It seems that the black hole has fallen … Read more

NASA telescopes find clues for how giant black holes formed so quickly

Using data from NASA’s Great Observatories, astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes. Researchers combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope to identify these possible black hole seeds. They discuss their findings in a paper that … Read more

Glow from the Big Bang Allows Discovery of Distant Black Hole Jet

Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to discover a jet from a very distant supermassive black hole being illuminated by the oldest light in the Universe. This discovery shows that black holes with powerful jets may be more common than previously thought in the first few billion years after the Big Bang. The light … Read more