Astronomers Discover Supermassive Black Hole In A Tiny Galaxy

Posted: Aug 16 2018, 12:14am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 16 2018, 12:18am CDT, in Latest Science News


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Astronomers Discover Supermassive Black Hole in a Tiny Galaxy

The black hole makes up about 4 percent of the galaxy's total mass, which is relatively higher than average galaxies

Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole inside a neighboring dwarf galaxy. The most interesting thing about the discovery is that the black hole is unusually large in proportion to its host galaxy. This elusive type of black hole could help researchers understand how these mysterious objects form and evolve over time.

Black holes, which lurk at the center of most galaxies, are among the most intriguing objects in the universe. Because of their large, extremely compacted mass, even light cannot escape from them. They therefore remain black and mostly invisible. Researchers have nevertheless proven their existence through their gravitational force on visible matter.

The new black hole resides a Fornax galaxy and was discovered by SINFONI, an infrared integral field spectrograph installed at an 8.2 meter VLT telescope in Chile. Researchers believe that if a massive body such as a black hole is present, the stars in a galaxy are influenced by its gravity and accelerate in different directions. The velocity dispersion in this galaxy’s center is so high that it can only be explained by the presence of a massive central black hole.

The newly discovered black hole is classified as a supermassive black hole, the largest type of black hole with masses equivalent to millions or billions of Suns. It is measured to be about 3.5 million times as massive as our sun. Its host galaxy, dubbed Fornax UCD3, belongs to Fornax galaxy cluster that are very rare and unusual ultracompact dwarf galaxies. Such dwarf galaxies have a mass of several dozen millions of solar masses and the radius does not typically exceed 300 light years. By comparison, the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across or a radius of 50,000 light years.

“We have discovered a supermassive black hole in the center of Fornax UCD3. The black hole mass is 3.5 million that of the sun, similar to the central black hole in our own Milky Way." Lead author Anton Afanasiev from Lomonosov Moscow State University said.

The black hole is only the fourth to be found in an ultracompact dwarf galaxy and corresponds to 4 percent of the total galaxy mass. In average galaxies, this ratio is considerably lower, about 0.3 percent. The central black hole of Milky Way makes up less than .01 percent of the galaxy’s total mass.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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