Emma Woollacott
January 20, 2011

Astronomers have measured the most massive known black hole in our cosmic neighborhood, weighing in at the equivalent of 6.6 billion suns.

Given its hefty proportions, the black hole, in the giant elliptical galaxy M87, could become the first black hole to be directly ‘seen’, rather than deduced from indirect evidence.

Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas at Austin led a team of researchers using the eight-meter Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to examine the motions of stars around the black hole.

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