News Release Archive:

News Release 833 of 1057

January 13, 1997 09:30 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-01

Massive Black Holes Dwell in Most Galaxies, According to Hubble Census

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

January 13, 1997: Announcing the discovery of three black holes in three normal galaxies, astronomers suggest that nearly all galaxies may harbor super-massive black holes that once powered quasars (extremely luminous objects in the centers of galaxies), but are now quiescent.

This conclusion is based on a census of 27 nearby galaxies carried out by the Hubble telescope and ground-based observatories in Hawaii. The three galaxies in these images are believed to contain central, super-massive black holes. The galaxy NGC 4486B [lower left] shows a double nucleus [lower right]. The picture at lower right is a close-up of the central region of NGC 4486B.

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Credit: Karl Gebhardt (University of Michigan), Tod Lauer (NOAO), and NASA