Black Holes Come In All Sizes â€“ A Mid-Size Variety In Astronomers Sight
A team of international researchers have detected a midsize black hole using Australia's Compact array radio telescope from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). The chance discovery occurred when researchers noticed the black hole emitting vast amounts of X-rays.
This newly detected black hole is known as HLX-1 for hyper luminous X-ray sources 1 (HLX-1) was spotted in ESO 243-29, a galaxy 300 million light years away. This is unique from the black holes that were known till date. Earlier, the scientific community had know super massive black holes, weighing a million to a billion times the sun, and stellar black holes, weighing three to tens of times our sun.
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According to Dr. Sean Farrell, an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney and a member of the research team," This is the first object that we're really sure is an intermediate-mass black hole."
Dr. Ron Ekers, a CSIRO member who studies super massive black holes at the centre of galaxies said, "We don't know for sure how super massive black holes form, but they might come from medium-size ones merging. So finding evidence of these intermediate-mass black holes is exciting."
What makes these black stars prominent is, when a star orbits too close to the black hole, it strips gasses from the star. As the gasses are sucked into the black hole they are heated to extreme temperatures that release an abundance of X-rays. It is because of this that the astronomers are able to spot the black hole through a radio telescope.
Based on the brightness of the X-ray emissions, the team believes that the black hole could have an upper weight limit of 90,000 times the sun. The astronomers estimate a weight of 20,000 solar masses.