Recently, a team of astronomers made a surprising discovery. The scientists identified an elusive black hole, scientifically called an “intermediate-mass black hole.” The discovery was possible thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray, and XMM-Newton.
Scientists Spotted An Intermediate-Mass Black Hole
NASA Goddard reported that “these so-called intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are a long-sought ‘missing link’ in black hole evolution. Though there have been a few other IMBH candidates, researchers consider these new observations the strongest evidence yet for mid-sized black holes in the Universe.”
Using the X-ray telescope mentioned above, the astronomers from the University of New Hampshire identified a particular X-ray source, located at about 740 million light-years away, inside a star cluster. It proved to be the intermediate-mass black hole. That is the best evidence for the existence of this kind of space object.
“Intermediate-mass black holes are very elusive objects, and so it is critical to consider and rule out alternative explanations for each candidate carefully. That is what Hubble has allowed us to do for our candidate,” said Dacheng Lin, the first author of the study published on March 31 in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters, as cited by Dual Dove.
Hot The Scientists Managed To Discover The Elusive Cosmic Body
At first, the astronomers harnessed the power of the Chandra X-ray and XMM-Newton X-ray telescope. They identified a powerful radiation source within a star cluster, as we’ve mentioned above. Then, with the Hubble Space Telescope, the team could precisely situate the black hole.
By exploring the X-ray glow coming from the black hole, the scientists measured the mass of the space object. According to the study, this intermediate-mass black hole has approximately 50,000 solar masses. That meant it’s much smaller than a supermassive black hole, usually found in the center of galaxies, and much more massive than stellar black holes.
Such a discovery is essential for science since it’s the best proof we have on an intermediate-mass black hole. According to the scientists, the are many mid-sized black holes in the Universe, which are waiting to be found. Dacheng Lin announced that the search would go on.