Latest Issue of Science News


Eclipsing a black hole

A chance eclipse has enabled astronomers for the first time to measure the width of a disk of swirling, hot matter around a supermassive black hole.

The black hole lies at the center of the galaxy NGC 1365, some 60 million light-years from Earth. Scientists have proposed that gas and dust surrounding such a hole don't simply fall in but form a rotating disk. Matter dragged inward from the disk would be heated to millions of kelvins and emit X rays before disappearing into the hole.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.