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Astronomers discover dusty surprise around giant black hole

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | June 20, 2013

Astronomers discover dusty surprise around giant black hole

This discovery is helping scientists to understand how supermassive black holes influence their cosmic environments,

According to a June 12, 2013 press release issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a record number of black holes – 26 in all – have been observed in the Andromeda galaxy, following a 13-year review of over 150 observations transmitted from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.  According to scientists, this is the largest number of black holes ever observed in another galaxy.  Often considered the “sister galaxy” of our own Milky Way, we are on a collision course with Andromeda, and the impact is set to occur several billions of years from now.

According to Robin Barnard of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the lead author of a new paper describing these results, “While we are excited to find so many black holes in Andromeda, we think it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most black holes won’t have close companions and will be invisible to us.”  The paper is titled “Chandra identification of 26 new black hole candidates in the central region of M31.”

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