Could it be a super rare intermediate black hole?
Astronomers have just found something amazing in a galaxy far, far away: two supermassive black holes, and one of them is “naked.”
That means the black hole doesn’t have many stars surrounding it, while the other one has loads of stars, a bizarre situation that has scientists trying to figure out why some black holes seem to have stars surrounding it while others don’t, according to a Discovery News report.
Scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory to witness this amazing and thought-provoking sight.
The galaxy is SDSS K1126+2944, and the two black holes are fairly far apart. The naked black hole has 500 times fewer stars than its sibling, and scientists just aren’t sure why that is.
Scientists have put forward two theories. One is that when two galaxies merged, gravitational forces scattered its stars, leaving it bare.
Another explanation is “intermediate mass” black holes, which are between smaller stellar mass black holes and bigger supermassive black holes. These medium sized black holes are on their way to supermassive. So it’s possible that SDSS J1126+2944 is an intermedia mass black hole that was created inside a cannibalized dwarf galaxy.
If this is true, the discovery could be huge, as scientists had had trouble finding intermediate black holes because they have no idea where to look. This could be a very important clue to understanding this mysterious type of black hole.
It’s the latest discovery regarding intermedia black holes. A few months ago, a team of astronomers at the University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center found an intermediate black hole that is about 5,000 times the mass of our sun, further strengthening the case that such rare objects are out there, even if they are difficult to find.