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black holes

            On December 3, 1995, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope identified a black hole in the galaxy .
             NGC 4621, located 100 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Virgo. .
             This is the second super-massive black hole that astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope .
             have found. Astronomers believe that the mass of this black hole is about 1.2 billion times the mass of our .
             sun, but it is concentrated in a space that is not any bigger than our solar system .
             There are two puzzling questions that astronomers are trying to answer. The black hole is fueled by the .
             galaxy and its 800 light-year-wide spiral disk of dust. Before the discovery of this black hole, astronomers .
             did not think that there was any dust in elliptical galaxies like NGC 4261. Currently they believe that the .
             disk of dust is the remnant of a smaller galaxy that fell into the core of NGC 4261. The black hole will .
             swallow up the gas from the smaller galaxy over the next 100 million years. Researchers believe that while .
             the gas is being swallowed by the black hole, the process will produce some amazing fireworks. .
             The second puzzling question that astronomers are trying to answer is why isn't the black hole at the center .
             of the galaxy? According to images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the black hole is 20 light-years .
             from the center of the galaxy, but since the black hole is so massive it is hard to explain how it could have .
             been moved. One idea is that the black hole is moving itself. Some astronomers think that the disk of dust .
             serves as a "fuel tank." The black hole sucks in the material which is absorbed by gravity, compressed, and .
             heated to tens of millions of degrees. This theory would explain why radio telescopes have observed radio .
             jets, or hot gas exhausts from the black hole's area. The exhaust may be pushing the black hole across .
             space, as a jet engine gives thrust to a plane. .
             According to Ted Bunn, an astronomer at Berkley University, "A black hole is a region of space that has so .

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