NGC 3393 in 60 Seconds
Narrator (April Hobart, CXC): Astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory have discovered the first pair of supermassive black holes in a spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way. These black holes were found in the galaxy NGC 3393, which is located about 160 million light years from Earth. This is the view of NGC 3393 from both Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope. Zooming in further, we see what the center of the galaxy looks like in just X-rays. The two peaks of X-ray emission are, in fact, black holes that are actively growing. They glow in X-rays as gas falling toward the black hole gets hotter. Separated by only 490 light years, the black holes in NGC 3393 are likely the remains of a galactic merger that took place a billion or more years ago.