Black Hole Discovered at Center of the Milky Way

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NBC Nightly News
Tom Brokaw/Robert Bazell
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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In 1985, astronomers at the University of California, led by Nobel Prize-winner Charles Townes, discover a black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.



"Black Hole Discovered at Center of the Milky Way." Robert Bazell, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 5 June 1985. NBC Learn. Web. 11 January 2020.


Bazell, R. (Reporter), & Brokaw, T. (Anchor). (1985, June 5). Black Hole Discovered at Center of the Milky Way. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"Black Hole Discovered at Center of the Milky Way" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 06/05/1985. Accessed Sat Jan 11 2020 from NBC Learn:


Black Hole Discovered at the Center of the Milky Way

TOM BROKAW, anchor:

One of the great mysteries of science, a black hole, has been discovered at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy. The discovery was made by astronomers in California, and Robert Bazell reports tonight, it may hold the secret of how galaxies are actually born.

ROBERT BAZELL, reporting:

Our sun is at the outer edge of a collection of one hundred fifty billion stars known as the Milky Way galaxy. The sun and all the other stars rotate about the central core of the galaxy. When astronomers on Earth aim their telescope at that galactic core they see nothing. Huge clouds of gas and dust block the view. So a major question has been, what is in the middle of the Milky Way? Today there is an answer.

PROFESSOR CHARLES TOWNES (University of California): There’s a big black hole there.

BAZELL: To find that black hole, Professor Charles Townes and his colleagues at the University of California spent more then ten years studying the center of the Milky Way. Most of the work was carried out aboard a NASA airborne observatory, and in Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Because the region cannot be seen in visible light, the scientists study the infrared and radio emissions. The idea of black holes has been one of the most intriguing and mysterious in Astronomy since it was first proposed. There has been some indication of black holes in distant galaxies, now there is strong evidence of one in our own backyard, only a few trillion miles away. Scientists believe black holes form when enormous numbers of stars and other matter collapse into a small area.

TOWNES: It is a state of matter that we find very difficult to describe. A black hole is a, is a collection of matter packed in very densely so it’s gravitational field is very strong, and nothing can escape from it, not even light, if light tries to get out it’s pulled back. We still don’t know a great deal about just what happens as material falls into this black hole, now that we know there’s a black hole there, we have a chance to examine further and understand more what happens.

BAZELL: And studies are likely to provide more information about how the Milky Way and other galaxies in the universe came into being. Robert Bazell, NBC News, New York.