NASA's Swift Satellite Discovers New Black Hole in Our Galaxy

Posted on October 6, 2012

NASA's Swift satellite, which detects x-rays, detected an outburst of high-energy X-rays from a source toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy on September 16, 2012. The outburst was produced by a rare X-ray nova and indicates the presence of a previously unknown black hole. Astronomers believe the object, named Swift J1745-26, resides about 20,000 to 30,000 light-years away in the galaxy's inner region.

Neil Gehrels, the mission's principal investigator, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said in the announcement, "Bright X-ray novae are so rare that they're essentially once-a-mission events and this is the first one Swift has seen. This is really something we've been waiting for."

This NASA video explains why the black hole creates the X-ray outburst. Take a look:

More from Science Space & Robots