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'Sleeping Giant': Elliptical Galaxy Has A Dark Secret

First Posted: Feb 11, 2016 03:41 PM EST

NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured the image of an elliptical galaxy known as NGC 4889, and its heart is home to one of the most massive black holes that has ever been discovered.

In the image, NGC 4889 is one of the brightest and largest galaxies and is home to a record-breaking supermassive black hole, which has been "sleeping" for sometime now. NGC 4889 is about 300 million light-years away and is found in the Coma Cluster. Its giant supermassive black hole is about 21 billion times the mass of the Sun and has an event horizon that does not allow light to pass through its gravitational grasp, which is about 130 billion kilometers, according to a news release.

This distance is approximately 15 times the diameter of Neptune's orbit from the Sun. Researchers claimed that this massive black hole has stopped feeding and it is now asleep. The galaxy's environment is quite settled and surprisingly, stars are being formed from remaining gas.

The supermassive black hole has been quietly napping and awaits its next celestial snack. This supermassive black hole has been inactive, however its existence enables astronomers to determine how and where quasars and other space objects were formed in the early Universe.

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