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Astronomers Dissect a Supermassive Black Hole 77

Matt_dk sends along a piece from the European Southern Observatory, which reports on observations of the so-called "Einstein Cross," a fortuitous conjunction of a nearby galaxy and a distant black hole. A team of researchers from Europe and the US combined the effects of macrolensing (from the intervening galaxy) and microlensing (from stars in that galaxy), captured by an earth-bound telescope. "Combining a double natural 'magnifying glass' with the power of ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have scrutinized the inner parts of the disc around a supermassive black hole 10 billion light-years away. They were able to study the disc with a level of detail a thousand times better than that of the best telescopes in the world, providing the first observational confirmation of the prevalent theoretical models of such discs."

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