This zoom dives deep into the nucleus of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31, also known as the Andromeda galaxy. The new Hubble Space Telescope image centers on the 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the core of the galaxy and the young blue stars surrounding the black hole. This is the sharpest visible-light image ever made of the nucleus of an external galaxy. Astronomers are trying to understand how apparently young stars were formed so deep inside the black hole's gravitational grip and how they survive in an extreme environment.
Publication: January 11, 2012