Scientists reach new milestone in the understanding of supermassive black holes
An international group of astronomers have performed unprecedented analysis of gas spinning in a whirlpool around a gigantic black hole.
The research team, which includes Dr Sebastian Hoenig from the University of Southampton, have measured gas in a distant quasar while also gauging its mass with the greatest precision to date.
Quasars, also known as quasi-stellar objects, are extremely bright but distant objects that have only previously been studied within our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
Scientists achieved this latest milestone using a new instrument called GRAVITY, which combines the light of four of the largest infrared telescopes.
“It is clear that GRAVITY has the potential to bring a sea change to our understanding of these unique objects, how they grow, and how they influence their host galaxies,” Dr Hoenig explains.