A team of astronomers has found what it says is the best evidence yet for an elusive class of black hole.
"The story of the discovery reads like a Sherlock Holmes story, involving the meticulous step-by-step case-building necessary to catch the culprit", said the space agency. Dr Lin and his colleagues plan to continue to investigate. Many questions remain to be answered. Does a supermassive great void expand from an IMBH? How do they themselves form? Are dense star clusters their favored residence?
The astronomers initially observed X-ray flare that were thought to have originated from a black hole that was shredding apart a star, but the source itself could've been a number of cosmic phenomena. The team was even able to estimate the mass of the potential IMBH to be 50,000 solar masses. "This is a lot more reliable than making use of X-ray luminance alone as generally done prior to for previous IMBH candidates", said Lin. "This helps us to understand the type of star that was disrupted by the black hole". They have been particularly hard to find because they are smaller and less active than supermassive black holes.
Fortunately for the astronomers, this is exactly what had happened.
There are different types of black holes in the Universe: those of stellar-mass formed by the collapse of a massive star, and supermassive, with masses equivalent to millions or billions of suns.
Lin and his team used Hubble to follow up on leads from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA's (the European Space Agency) X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton). In 2006 these satellites found an effective flare of X-rays, however they cannot establish whether it originated from inside or beyond our galaxy. Researchers attributed it to a star being torn apart after coming too close to a gravitationally powerful compact object, like a black hole.
If this discovery turns out to be a viable one, this will be offering experts the missing link in the theories of black hole evolution.
It betrayed its existence by tearing aside a wayward star that handed too near it, says the company. Researchers, who can not determine whether the source in question is inside or outside our galaxy, state that the glow is not in the center of the galaxy, where there are usually large black holes. Neutron stars are the extremely dense remnants of an exploded star.
In order to distinguish between the two scenarios, the Hubble Space Telescope was pointed at the X-ray source to resolve its precise location.
Our personal Milky Way galaxy has a comparatively quiescent at its galactic center.
For astronomers, this star cluster would actually be the stripped nucleus of an ancient dwarf galaxy which, a very long time ago, would have been absorbed by said (larger) galaxy.
" Intermediate-mass black holes are really evasive objects, therefore it is critical to thoroughly consider as well as dismiss alternate explanations for each and every candidate".
"That is what Hubble has allowed us to do for our candidate".
A official paper describing the scientists' work was published the The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Does a supermassive black hole develop from an object of intermediate-mass? In 2009 Hubble partnered with NASA's Swift observatory and also ESA's XMM-Newton to determine what is taken an IMBH, called HLX-1, situated in the direction of the edge of the galaxy ESO 243-49. Astronomers suspect that supermassive black holes, which are powerful enough to slurp up entire star clusters, may actually get their start as intermediate-mass black holes.
Hubble, as explained, is NASA's general telescope in space. NASA's Goddard Area Trip Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope.
The 30th birthday celebration of Hubble Space Telescope will be changed based on the current situations today. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.