The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Galaxy NGC 6240

NGC6240 image

Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT, NASA/STScI

Observers: Claude Canizares, Mike Nowak, Aaron Evans

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Two bright pinpoints of light in NGC 6240 show two supermassive black holes merging in the galaxy's center. The black holes are only 3,000 light years apart and have been spiraling toward each other for about 30 million years.

  • Distance from Earth: 400 million light years
  • Size: 200,000 light years
  • Telescope: Chandra/Hubble
  • Light: X-ray, Visible