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Double Black Hole Galaxy Discovered, One Black Hole Without Stars

First Posted: Jan 06, 2016 11:28 AM EST

A rare galaxy with two black holes was recently discovered by Julie Comerford, an astrophysicist at the University of Colorado Boulder. The strange galaxy had a double black hole, where one of them were contained no stars in particular, which was referred to as a "skinny black-hole."

Comerford reported her findings at the American Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Kissimmee, Fla. The double-black hole galaxy was identified as SDSS J1126+2944, which is located about 1 billion light-years away. Comerford made the discovery using the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in her study. This latest two-black hole galaxy is one of four discoveries that were made last year by Comerford, who claimed that finding a potential intermediate-size black hole inside was "an extra bonus," according to a news release.

This newly identified galaxy has an unusual feature since one of the two black holes is quite smaller than the other and it is starved of stars, which is strange since black holes are usually surrounded by numerous stars - this one is "naked."

Comerford claimed that the slim black hole lost most of its mass during a collision when the two galaxies were merged together as one, which was referred to as "a crash diet." This is a rare example of an intermediate-sized black hole that will eventually transform into a supermassive monster.

Intermediate black holes are usually 100 to 1 million times the mass of the sun. The first double-black hole galaxy was discovered by accident in 2003, according to Comerford. Ever since astronomers have been working on finding additional double-black hole galaxies. Comerford's findings is shedding new light on the evolution of black holes. 

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