Telescopes Produce Stunning Eye-Shaped Image Of Supermassive Black Hole (Picture)

LOOK: The Nearest Black Hole To Earth

Spiral galaxy NGC 4151 may not have the snappiest of names, but as this image proves, it sure looks impressive.

Using data from the NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory satellite and the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope on La Palma, the Canary Islands, it's a composite image of the supermassive black hole closest to earth.

The bright light in the centre is the black hole - perhaps black itself wouldn't show up so well in contrast to space - and the red, pupil-like ring around it is hydrogen.

If you'd like to take a closer look, you'd best get yourself a seriously large (and seriously expensive) telescope, or failing that, jump in your spaceship and travel the 43 million light years distance to NGC 4151. Don't get too close, mind, they don't take too kindly to visitors there.

As a brief recap of just what black holes are and why they're so awesome/worrying/supermassive, take a look at this clip from ever-reliable and totally lovely TV science man Brian Cox, as he enjoys a lovely freebie to Victoria Falls to explain how those blacky holey things work up in space.


What's Hot