Letter | Published:

Is there a black hole in the sky?

Nature volume 321, pages 419420 (22 May 1986) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The recent discovery1 that the two quasars, Hazard 1146+111B,C, separated by 157 arc s, are in fact two images of the same quasar raises the question: what massive object is responsible for gravitational lensing? Ultimately, the answer will be provided by observations of a few more pairs of images of other sources when it will be possible to analyse the mass distribution of the lens. One of the imaginable candidates is a supermassive black hole. No observational or theoretical argument can be presented in favour of this possibility at present. Should the future observations point to a compact supermassive lensing object, the presence of a black hole could be established by the unique property that it would appear against the microwave background as a black spot with a diameter of 0.1 arc s.

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References

  1. 1.

    et al. Nature 321, 142–144 (1986).

  2. 2.

    Gravitation and Cosmology (Wiley, New York, 1972).

  3. 3.

    Black Holes (eds De Witt, C. & De Witt, B. S.) 215–240 (Gordon & Breach, Edinburgh, 1972).

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Affiliations

  1. Princeton University Observatory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA

    • Bohdan PaczyŃski

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/321419a0

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