News Release Archive:

News Release 823 of 1057

May 12, 1997 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1997-12

Hubble Records a Black Hole's Signature

An Early Release Observation Release

May 12, 1997: The colorful "zigzag" on the right is not the work of a flamboyant artist, but the signature of a super-massive black hole in the center of galaxy M84, discovered by the Hubble telescope's imaging spectrograph.

The image on the left, also taken by Hubble, shows the core of the galaxy where the suspected black hole dwells. In a single exposure, astronomers mapped the motions of gas in the grip of the black hole's powerful gravitational pull by aligning Hubble's spectroscopic slit across the nucleus.

Credit: Gary Bower, Richard Green (NOAO), the STIS Instrument Definition Team, and NASA