In 2019 the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for pioneering a new field in astronomy with the discovery of the first planet beyond our solar system, 51 Pegasi b. Since the discovery in 1991, over 4,000 exoplanets have been found in our home galaxy. “We answered a very old question,” Mayor said, which was debated by philosophers since the ancient Greeks: “are there other worlds in the Universe?”
In the nearby Whirlpool galaxy and its companion galaxy, M51b, two supermassive black holes heat up and devour surrounding material. These two monsters should be the most luminous X-ray sources in sight, but a new study using observations from NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission shows that a much smaller object is competing with the two behemoths.