Close-up view of the nearest pair of supermassive black holes

Close-up view of the two bright galactic nuclei, each housing a supermassive black hole, in NGC 7727, a galaxy located 89 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Aquarius. Each nucleus consists of a dense group of stars with a supermassive black hole at its centre. The two black holes are on a collision course and form the closest pair of supermassive black holes found to date. It is also the pair with the smallest separation between two supermassive black holes — observed just 1600 light-years apart in the sky.  

The image was taken with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile.


About the Image

Id: eso2117b
Type: Observation
Release date: 30 November 2021, 14:00
Related releases: eso2117
Size: 929 x 924 px

About the Object


Position (RA): 23 39 53.76
Position (Dec): -12&deg 17′ 32.53″
Field of view: 0.14 x 0.13 arcminutes
Orientation: North is 2.5° right of vertical

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