The core of M87, revealing a black hole nucleus


Below is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a spiral-shaped disk of hot gas in the core of active galaxy M87. Hubble measurements show the disk is rotating very rapidly. Scientists believe it contains a massive black hole at its hub. Though the black hole weigh as much as 3 billion of our Suns, it is concentrated into a space no larger than our solar system. A brilliant jet of high-speed electrons that emits from the nucleus (diagonal line across the image) is believed to be produced by the black holes's "engine".

Galaxy M87


The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.

StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman