Sound Bites

    BBC Newshour: What should you do if you fall into a supermassive black hole? (April 2016)

    All Things Considered: Supermassive Black Holes May Be More Common Than Anyone Imagined (April 2016)

    Weekend Edition with Scott Simon and Yo-Yo Ma (sort of) (December 2011)

    Best coverage: Astronomers Find Massive Black Holes In White House: Fear Them Coming To Hawaii Soon (December 2011)

    Gwen's Take: Black Holes and Campaign 2012 (December 2011)

    NYT: Astronomers Find Biggest Black Holes Yet (December 2011)


      Three images illustrating a monstrous black hole of ten-billion solar masses

    • Artist's rendition (Credit: Gemini Observatory/AURA artwork by Lynette Cook)
      An artist's conception of stars moving in the central regions of a giant elliptical galaxy that harbors a supermassive black hole.

    • Zoom-in (Credit: Pete Marenfeld)
      This figure shows the immense size of the black hole discovered in the galaxy NGC 3842. NGC 3842, shown in the background image, is the brightest galaxy in a rich cluster of galaxies. The black hole is at its center and is surrounded by stars (shown as an artist's concept in the central figure). The black hole is seven times larger than Pluto's orbit. Our solar system (inset) would be dwarfed by it.

    • Our Galactic center (Credit: Andrea Ghez, Lynette Cook)
      Image of the center of our Galaxy from laser-guide-star adaptive optics on the Keck Telescope. This is an HKL-band color mosaic, where H(1.8 microns) = blue, K(2.2 microns) = green, and L(3.8 microns) = red. More massive black holes have larger event horizons, the region within which even light can not escape. If a ten billion solar mass black hole resided at the Galactic center, its immense event horizon would be visible (illustrated by the central black disk). The actual black hole at the Galactic center is 2500 times smaller.