A violent end for Earth? In June 2000, astronomers made an extraordinary discovery. One that promises to solve one of the biggest problems in cosmology - how and why galaxies are created. Incredibly, the answer involves the most weird, destructive and terrifying objects in the Universe - supermassive black holes. Scientists are beginning to believe that these forces of pure destruction actually help trigger the birth of galaxies and therefore are at the heart of the creation of stars, planets and all life.
Supermassive black holes are so extraordinary that until recently, many people doubted that they existed at all. The idea of giant black holes the size of the Solar System seemed more like science fiction that reality - such monsters would be so powerful that they could destroy the very fabric of the Universe. But in the last five years a series of discoveries has changed our understanding of supermassive black holes and galaxies forever.