Disk around a Black Hole in Galaxy NGC 7052

Resembling a gigantic hubcap in space, a 3, 700 light-year-diameter dust disk encircles a 300 million solar-mass black hole in the centre of the elliptical galaxy NGC 7052.

The disk, possibly a remnant of an ancient galaxy collision, will be swallowed up by the black hole in several billion years.

Because the front end of the disk eclipses more stars than the back, it appears darker. Also, because dust absorbs blue light more effectively than red light, the disk is redder than the rest of the galaxy (this same phenomenon causes the Sun to appear red when it sets in a smoggy afternoon).


Roeland P. van der Marel (STScI), Frank C. van den Bosch (Univ. of Washington), and NASA/ESA

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:18 June 1998, 15:00
Size:3000 x 2400 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 21163+2613, NGC 7052
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Disk
Local Universe : Galaxy : Component : Central Black Hole
Distance:200 million light years
Category:Quasars and Black Holes

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Hubble Space Telescope

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