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Media Advisory 11-028

NSF Teleconference for Reporters on Unprecedented Black Hole Discovery in Nature

Join lead authors from the University of California, Berkeley, at 3 p.m. EST on Mon., December 5th

two giant elliptical galaxies obtained by the Gemini Observatory.

An image of two giant elliptical galaxies obtained by the Gemini Observatory in March of 2008.

December 2, 2011

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will sponsor a teleconference press briefing detailing the discovery of unprecedented black holes to be published on December 8th in the journal Nature (now published online).

With support from NSF, and using telescopes at the NSF-supported International Gemini Observatory, as well as the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and the McDonald Observatory in Texas, researchers were able to obtain detailed information about the centers of massive elliptical galaxies--which astronomers think most, if not all, are black holes--data the research team did not have the technical capability to obtain just a few years ago. The new results may help astronomers determine how black holes and galaxies form over the history of the universe.

Who:Chung-Pei Ma, professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley; and UC, Berkeley graduate student Nicholas McConnell, graduate student (first author of the paper), University of California, Berkeley.

What:Live teleconference for journalists.
Dial: 877-918-9240 or 1-630-395-0267
Passcode: "Massive"

When:Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, 3:00 p.m. EST/noon PST


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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