News Release Archive:

News Release 49 of 137

May 25, 2010 02:30 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2010-18

Supermassive Black Holes May Frequently Roam Galaxy Centers

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release / A News Nugget Release

May 25, 2010: A team of astronomy researchers at Florida Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology in the United States and University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, find that the supermassive black hole (SMBH) at the center of the most massive local galaxy (M87) is not where it was expected. Their research, conducted using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), concludes that the SMBH in M87 is displaced from the galaxy center. The most likely cause for this SMBH to be off center is a previous merger between two older, less massive, SMBHs. The iconic M87 jet may have pushed the SMBH away from the galaxy center, say researchers. The research is being presented today at the 216th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Miami. It will also be published in The Astrophysical Journal Lettters. For more information about this research, visit: .

Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Batcheldor and E. Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology), the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and J. Biretta, W. Sparks, and F.D. Macchetto (STScI)