Scientists spot supermassive black hole hiding inside thick cosmic dust

A supermassive black hole masked by a cloud of cosmic dust was found at the center of an active galaxy in new images from the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The galaxy, known as Messier 77 or NGC 1068, is a barred spiral galaxy located about 47 million light-years from Earth, in the constellation Cetus. Taken by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in northern Chile, the observations shed new light on galaxies that have an active galactic nucleus (AGN) at their core. These bright features are fueled by all the gas and dust that falls into the galaxy’s central black hole, causing the area to outshine the rest of the galaxy.