A flat and dust-filled disk orbiting a bright galactic bulge
Space news (February 20, 2016) – over 65 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo (The Virgin) –
This startling Hubble Space Telescope image of spiral galaxy NGC 4845 highlights its spiral structure but hides a monster. Deep within the center astronomers have detected a supermassive black hole, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of times the mass of Sol.
By following the movements of the innermost stars of NGC 4845, astronomers were able to determine they orbit around the center of the galaxy at a velocity indicating the presence of a supermassive black hole.
Scientists previously used the same method to discover the presence of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way – Sagittarius A*. The Monster of the Milky Way has a mass around 4 million times that of our sun, which is slightly bigger than the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 4845.
Astronomers also discovered the supermassive black hole deep within the center of NGC 4845 is a hungry monster that devours anything that falls too far into its gravity well. In 2013 astronomers studying a different island universe, noticed a violent flare erupting from the center of NGC 4845.
Astronomers discovered an object many times the mass of Jupiter had fallen into the gravity well of this monster and was devoured. The violent flare erupting from the center of NGC 4845 was the death throes of a brown dwarf or large planet as it was being torn apart and drawn deeper into the gravity well of the supermassive black hole.
Learn more about supermassive black holes here.
Learn more about NGC 4845 here.
Learn more about the ESA.
Take the journey of NASA.
Learn more about the Monster of the Milky Way – Sagittarius A.
Learn more about the formation of new stars.