Space Photos - SEARCH
 Frequently Asked Questions
 Hubble - APOD Selections
 Earth from Space Photos
 Robert Gendler Photos
 Apollo Gemini Mercury Photos
 Top 50
 Space Shuttle - Space Station Photos
 Recent Requests
 Spitzer Photos
 More Hubble Photos
 Astronaut Crew Portraits
 Chandra Catalog
 Planet Photos
 Comets - Asteroids
 Other Astronomy Photos
 Sun Photos
 Links I Use
 Gift Certificates
 Show Order

Click to enlargeHubble Lonely Black Holes Photo

January 13, 2000
Photo No: H2000-03
Lone Black Hole Passes in Front of Star

[Left] (Not shown) Two images of a crowded starfield as seen through a ground-based telescope show the subtle brightening of a star due to the effect of gravitational microlensing, where an invisible but massive foreground object passes in front of the star and amplifies its light. The dark lensing object is estimated to be a six-solar-mass black hole that is drifting alone among the stars.

Credit: NOAO, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory

[Right] A NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the same field clearly resolves the lensed star and yields its true brightness. The Hubble observation was needed because the ground-based images do not tell how bright the lensed star actually was before (or after) it was lensed. The star fields where microlensing events are observed are so crowded with stars that the lensed star images are often blended together with images of unlensed stars. But with the Hubble images, astronomers can identify the lensed star and determine its normal brightness. The Hubble images were taken on June 15, 1999.

Credit: NASA and Dave Bennett (University of Notre Dame, Indiana)

Select Size: 
Follow SpaceImages on Twitter
Want to receive email updates? Click here.
Questions or Comments? Click here to send e-mail.