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Chandra Sees Remarkable Eclipse of Black Hole
04.12.07
Chandra observations of the galaxy NGC 1365

Chandra observations of the galaxy NGC 1365 have captured a remarkable eclipse of the supermassive black hole at its center. A dense cloud of gas passed in front of the black hole, which blocked high-energy X-rays from material close to the black hole. This serendipitous alignment allowed astronomers to measure the size of the disk of material around the black hole, a relatively tiny structure on galactic scales. The Chandra image (shown in the inset) contains a bright X-ray source in the middle, which reveals the position of the supermassive black hole. An optical view of the galaxy from the European Space Observatory's Very Large Telescope shows the context of the Chandra data.

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Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/INAF/Risaliti Optical: ESO/VLT