Supermassive black hole

A supermassive black hole (SMBH or sometimes SBH)[4] is the largest type of black hole, with its mass being on the order of millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun (M). Black holes are a class of astronomical objects that have undergone gravitational collapse, leaving behind spheroidal regions of space from which nothing can escape, not even light. Observational evidence indicates that almost every large galaxy has a supermassive black hole at its center.[5][6] For example, the Milky Way has a supermassive black hole in its Galactic Center, corresponding to the radio source Sagittarius A*.[7][8] Accretion of interstellar gas onto supermassive black holes is the process responsible for powering active galactic nuclei and quasars.[9]

This is the first direct image of a supermassive black hole, located at the galactic core of Messier 87.[1][2] It shows radio-wave emission from a heated accretion ring orbiting the object at a mean separation of 350 AU, or ten times larger than the orbit of Neptune around the Sun. The dark center is the event horizon and its shadow.[3] The image was released in 2019 by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration.

Two supermassive black holes have been directly imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope: the black hole in the giant elliptical galaxy Messier 87 and the black hole at the Milky Way’s center.[10]


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