“Swirling gas around black holes may be the key to estimating the masses of black holes otherwise too distant to weigh, according to a new study.
Supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of the sun are thought to lurk at the heart of all large galaxies. Oddly, the properties of these black holes appear linked with a variety of properties of their parent galaxies, such as how bright the galaxies are and the speed of stars within them. This suggests a fundamental link between galaxy and black hole evolution.
The scientists tested their model on gas seen around the supermassive black hole in the galaxy NGC 4526, which is 53 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. They employed the Combined Array for Research in Millimetre-wave Astronomy (CARMA) telescope in California.
They estimate NGC 4526’s central black hole weighs about 450 million times the mass of the sun.”
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