Seven years before this week’s Event Horizon Telescope release of the gargantuan black hole image at the heart of Galaxy M87, astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in fall of 2012 obtained a remarkable view of a monster elliptical galaxy, located three billion light-years away, the galaxy is the most massive and brightest galaxy in the Abell 2261 cluster with a core bigger than any seen before.
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope obtained a remarkable new view of this whopper of an elliptical galaxy that may have been puffed up by the actions of one or more black holes in its core.
Previous Hubble observations have revealed that supermassive black holes, with masses millions or billions times more than the Sun, reside at the centers of nearly all galaxies and may play a role in shaping those central regions.
The astronomers expected to see a slight cusp of light in the galaxy’s center, marking the location of the black hole and attendant stars.
“The black hole is the anchor for the stars,” explains Laurer, a co-author of the Hubble study and a member of The Nuker Team: Hubble Space Telescope investigations of centers of galaxies.