Insatiable Force

Although their name suggests emptiness, black holes are the most densely filled objects in the universe, giving them enormous gravitational pull. Stellar black holes, formed from the collapse of giant stars, can compact the mass of ten suns to the size of New York City. Supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies can have the mass of billions of suns. Their origin remains a mystery.

Sagittarius A*

In 1974 scientists discovered a very compact source of radio waves originating from a region in the Sagittarius constellation, 26,000 light-years from Earth. Dubbed Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the source is now known to be a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy weighing more than four million suns.

X-Ray Jets

Static Limit

Event Horizon

The Singularity

Accretion Disk

Jason Treat and Alexander Stegmaier, NGM Staff. Art by Mark A. Garlick
Sources: Avery Broderick, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Waterloo, Canada; UCLA Galactic Center Group