While standard black holes start at around four times the mass of our Sun, their enormous relatives are millions, and so

They are the biggest black holes in the known Universe, billions of times more massive than our Sun, but little is known about how these monsters form and grow so big. New telescopes and techniques are giving us a new way of looking at these giants.

Halfway between the belly of Delphinus the Dolphin and the hind hoof of Pegasus the flying horse, a pristine pinwheel tumbles through space. For billions of years, the flocculent spiral arms of galaxy UCG 11700 have wheeled in peace, undisturbed by the collisions and mergers that have deformed so many other galaxies.

But while a spiral galaxy like UCG 11700 is pleasing to look at, something monstrous lurks in its midst. At the heart of this beautiful cosmic Catherine wheel is one of the most mysterious objects in the Universe – a supermassive black hole.

irankunda nkongoro

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