NGC 4649

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Chandra X-ray
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NGC 4649: An elliptical galaxy about 51 million light years from Earth in the constellation Virgo.
(Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Univ. of California Irvine/P.Humphrey et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI))

Caption: A composite image of data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (shown in purple) and Hubble Space Telescope (blue) shows the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 4649. By applying a new technique, scientists used Chandra data to measure the black hole at the galaxy's center to be about 3.4 billion times more massive than the Sun. The value from this X-ray technique is consistent with a more traditional method observing the motions of stars near the black hole in optical light. NGC 4649 is now one of only a handful of galaxies for which the mass of a supermassive black hole has been measured with two different methods.

Scale: Image is 26 arcsec across.

Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory