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NASA news: A giant black hole sleeping is hidden in this photo – Can you find it? | Science | News

The sleeping giant black hole is located approximately 300 million light-years away in the Coma Cluster. The black hole sits at the heart of the Galaxy NGC 4889, which is the biggest and brightest object in the NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) picture. According to ESA, the black hole defied all expectations when it was discovered. The supermassive black hole measures an astounding 80 million miles (130 million km) across or 15 times the size of Neptune’s orbit.

Compared to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A *, that black hole is only four million times heavier than the Sun.

ESA, which operates Hubble with NASA, said: “By the time NGC 4889's black hole was swallowing stars and devouring dust is past.

“Astronomers believe the gigantic black hole has stopped feeding and is currently resting after feasting on NGC 4889's cosmic cuisine.

“The environment within the galaxy is now so peaceful that the stars are forming from its remaining gas and orbiting undisturbed around the black hole.”

READ MORE: The sound of a black hole REVEALED and it sings in B Flat

When the black hole was still active, ESA said the monstrous well of gravity surrounded itself with vast amounts of stellar material.

The process, known as hot accretion, sees dust and cosmic gas falling towards the black hole into a spinning disc.

The accretion disc is accelerated to near the speed of light and millions of degrees of heat.

Some of the material will fall towards the black hole’s event horizon after which it cannot escape and some of it will shoot out into space in the form of a relativistic jet.

READ MORE: Incredible NASA animation sheds light on 'warped world' of black holes

ESA said: “During its active period, astronomers would have rated NGC 4899 as quasar and the disc around the supermassive black hole would have emitted up to a thousand times the energy output of the Milky Way.

“The accretion disc sustained the supermassive black hole's appetite until the nearby supply of galactic material was exhausted.

“Now, napping quietly as it waits for its next heavenly snack, the supermassive black hole is dormant.”

Supermassive black holes represent one of the two main classes of black holes recognized by astronomers: supermassive black holes and stellar black holes.

READ MORE: Astronomers name historic black hole ‘Fathomless Dark Creation '

There are, however, other hypothesized types of black holes such as primordial black holes and intermediate black holes.

ESA said: “Although it is impossible to directly observe a black hole – as light cannot escape its gravitational pull – its mass can be indirectly determined.

“Using instruments on the Keck II Observatory and Gemini North Telescope, astronomers measured the velocity of the stars around NGC 4889’s center.

"These velocities – which depend on the mass of the object they orbit – revealed the immense mass of the supermassive black hole."

Quick facts about the Hubble Space Telescope:

1. Scientists have published more than 15,000 scientific papers thanks to Hubble.

2. Hubble hangs over the planet in low Earth orbit or LEO.

3. The space telescope transmits about 150 gigabits of raw science data every single week.

4. Per year, Hubble generates about 10 terabytes of new data.

5. The telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble.

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