Release 805 of 1,087

Hubble Uncovers Dust Disk around a Massive Black Hole

Release date: Jun 18, 1998 9:00 AM (EDT)

Resembling a gigantic hubcap in space, a 3,700-light-year-wide dust disk encircles a 300-million- solar-mass black hole in the center of the elliptical galaxy NGC 7052.

The disk, possibly a remnant of an ancient galaxy collision, will be swallowed up by the black hole in several billion years. The black-and-white image on the left, taken by a ground-based telescope, shows the complete galaxy. The Hubble picture on the right is a close-up view of the dust disk surrounding the black hole.