ASTRONOMERS USING the Hubble Space Telescope have detected a black hole sucking material from a 200 light-year-wide spiral-shaped disc of dust close to a host galaxy, NGC 4261, 45 million light years away from Earth in the constellation of Virgo.

"These new Hubble observations have moved us beyond the question of whether black holes exist," says Holland Ford, an astronomer at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. "Now we can work on the demographics of black holes and address a number of other questions."

The discovery follows the release, of the Hubble's most spectacular image of the M16 Eagle Nebula, in the Serpens constellation, 7,000 light years from Earth showing evaporating gaseous globules emerging from the finger-like protrusions, at the top of columns of molecular hydrogen and dust, in which new stars are being born. Each of the "fingertips" is larger than the diameter of the Solar System.

Source: Flight International