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News Release 216 of 296

June 18, 1998 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1998-22

Hubble Uncovers Dust Disk around a Massive Black Hole

June 18, 1998: 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.

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Credit: Roeland P. van der Marel (STScI), Frank C. van den Bosch (Univ. of Washington), and NASA.