Smallest Oxymoronic Black Hole Detected By NASA

Posted: Aug 12 2015, 8:57am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Smallest Oxymoronic Black Hole Detected by NASA
A Sloan Digital Sky Survey image of RGG 118, a galaxy containing the smallest supermassive black hole ever detected. The inset is a Chandra image showing hot gas around the black hole. Credits: NASA/CXC/Univ of Michigan/V.F.Baldassare, et al; Optical: SDSS

The supermassive black hole was detected using the Clay telescope in Chile.

Astronomers at NASA have identified the smallest black hole ever in the galaxy. The black hole although small by comparison is supermassive. The size of the black hole is small in comparison to other black holes.

But astronomers believe the supermassive black hole is about 50,000 times the size of the sun. It was detected by the clay telescope in Chile. The telescope is 6.5 metre long. The black hole was identified by the astronomers at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

“It might sound contradictory, but finding such a small, large black hole is very important,” said Vivienne Baldassare of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, first author of a paper on these results published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

“We can use observations of the lightest supermassive black holes to better understand how black holes of different sizes grow.”

The black hole in addition to being the smallest ever has other very important value. The object is oxymoronic in nature. Astronomers believe it could provide clues to how black holes form.

The oxymoronic black hole may help in figuring out how host galaxies 13 billion years in the past were formed. The black hole was found in the centre of the galaxy called RGG 118. The galaxy is located more than 340 million light years from Earth.

The galaxy has a dwarf disk shape. The black hole in the RGG118 is about 100 less massive than the black hole in the centre of Milky Way. The black hole is also 200,000 times less smaller than other big black holes found in other galaxies.

According to Vivienne Baldassare from the University of Michigan the finding is very important. The results of the finding were published in a journal Astrophysical Journal Letters. Researchers shared studying the black hole can help them understand how black holes of different sizes grow.

“We found this little supermassive black hole behaves very much like its bigger, and in some cases much bigger, cousins,” said co-author Amy Reines of the University of Michigan. “This tells us black holes grow in a similar way no matter what their size.”

“We have two main ideas for how these supermassive black holes are born,” said Elena Gallo of the University of Michigan. “This black hole in RGG 118 is serving as a proxy for those in the very early universe and ultimately may help us decide which of the two is right.”

Astronomers are trying to understand how the black holes formed after the Big Bang. But many Black holes are undetectable with current technology. So the discovery has given researchers a chance to study a small black hole.

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