A Black Hole in a Grand Design Spiral Galaxy - M74

Grand Design Spiral Galaxies are classified by their symmetrical spiral arms emanating from a central nucleus. M74, or NGC628, is a face-on spiral galaxy known for its grand design structure. M74 is home to some 100 billion stars; It is and is dotted with clusters of young blue stars and glowing pink regions that will form protostars. In 2002, the Chandra Space Observatory gained evidence that M74 contains an intermediate mass black hole. After studying variations in the amount of X-rays emitted by certain stars, Astrophysicists determined that the mass of the black hole is approximately 10,000 times the mass of our sun.

CreditNASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, Chandra Space Observatory  

Ancient Quasar Pulses With The Light Of A Million Billion Suns

Astronomers have discovered a monster black hole at the cosmic dawn of our Universe powering an ultraluminous, high-energy quasar.

The huge black hole has a mass 12 billion times that of the Sun and its associated quasar pumps out energy a million billion times that of the Sun.

Quasars are formed as the central supermassive black hole sucks in surrounding materials and gases, which heats up and emits a tremendous amount of light, so much that it actually push away the material getting sucked in behind it. It is quasars that limit the growth of black holes, which is one of the reasons why this ultraluminous quasar around this gigantic black hole is so puzzling.

The other reason is how ancient they are. The quasar is in the high redshift of light, which is a measure of how much the wavelength of the light has been stretched by the expansion of the Universe before it reaches us here on Earth. Using this measure, scientists are able to date quasars and they’ve put this one in the early cosmic dawn, just 900 million years after the Big Bang.

Ceres’ Mystery Bright Dots May Have Volcanic Origin

As NASA’s Dawn mission slowly spirals in on its dwarf planet target, Ceres’ alien landscape is becoming sharper by the day. And, at a distance of only 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers), the robotic spacecraft has revealed multiple bright patches on the surface, but one of the brightest spots has revealed a dimmer bright patch right next door.

“Ceres’ bright spot can now be seen to have a companion of lesser brightness, but apparently in the same basin,” said Chris Russell, of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and principal investigator for the Dawn mission. “This may be pointing to a volcano-like origin of the spots, but we will have to wait for better resolution before we can make such geologic interpretations.”