black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Astronomers Discover Tiny Galaxy Harboring Monster Black Hole

Astronomers are accustomed to seeing supermassive black holes at the heart of large galaxies like our own Milky Way and neighboring galaxies like Andromeda. However, a new analysis suggests there’s a giant black hole hiding in a most unusual place: inside one of the smallest galaxies known to exist. Fornax UCD3 is a tiny galaxy, but it has a monster black hole in the middle. black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

 black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Fornax UCD3 is what’s known as an ultracompact dwarf galaxy. These objects have a total mass in the tens of millions of solar masses. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind the sun is a rather small-ish star.  black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

There are plenty of stars that weigh in at hundreds of solar masses all on their own. The radius of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy rarely goes beyond 300 light years, making them the densest stellar regions in the known universe.  black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

According to Anton Afanasiev from the Sternberg Astronomical Institute at Moscow State University, the black hole at the center of UCD3 has a mass of roughly 3.5 million suns. The entire galaxy is just a few dozen million solar masses. The team came to this conclusion using data from SINFONI, an infrared spectrograph installed at one of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) facilities in Chile.  black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

The giveaway was an unusual pattern in angular velocity within UCD3. When stars get near a massive object like a black hole, they begin accelerating in different directions. The average speed doesn’t change, but “velocity dispersion” does.  black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

Scientists compared the velocity dispersion in UCD3 with established models of black holes. The most likely mass for the object is 3.5 million solar masses.  black hole discovery how are black holes formed black hole nasa black hole facts

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