In a small galaxy hides a very large black hole




Сверхмассивная черная дыра внутри M60-UCD1

Supermassive black hole in a dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 – Illustration

Astronomers have discovered the smallest known galaxies in the core of which has hidden a huge black hole mass of about 21 million solar masses. Opening suggests that supermassive black holes may be much longer than previously thought.

At the heart of almost every large galaxy such as the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole weighing millions to billions of solar masses. They exist since the days of the early universe, some of which later formed 800 million years after the Big Bang. Scientists are trying to find out whether dwarf galaxies conceal a supermassive black hole.

According to astronomers, the galaxy is considered a dwarf if its luminosity is about 50 times less than the luminosity of the Milky Way. These galaxies have a much smaller extent than the Milky Way, with a diameter of 100,000 light years. In this case, dwarf galaxies are more common than the type of our galaxy.
Scientists have studied the more rare type of dwarf galaxies, the so-called ultra-compact dwarf galaxy – one of the most dense concentrations of stars in the universe.

They are most often found in clusters of galaxies – cities of the universe, – quotes the words of the head of research Enila Seth of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Thus, the ultra-compact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1, investigated using 8-meter optical-infrared telescope “Gemini-North» (Gemini North) on the island of Hawaii and Space Observatory “Hubble» NASA, was the smallest of the known science of galaxies which have taken so great black hole. M60-UCD1 removed from the earth at a distance of about 54 million light-years. It orbits M60 – one of the largest galaxies near our galaxy – at a distance of about 22 000 light-years from its center. This distance is closer than from the Sun to the center of the Milky Way.

Галактика M60

Huge galaxy M60

Scientists have discovered that the stars in the center of M60-UCD1 move at a speed of about 370 000 km / h, which is too fast for ordinary stars, unaffected by the black hole. This helped researchers determine the mass of the giant, which amounted to 21 million solar masses, or 15 percent of the dwarf galaxy 140 million solar masses. For comparison, the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way as massive as the Sun is about 4 million times and it takes less than 0.01 per cent of the total mass of its galaxy.

This surprising discovery, given that the Milky Way is 500 times bigger and 1000 times more massive than the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1, – said the scientists.

The results of the research led scientists to believe that ultra dwarf galaxies are the remnants of larger galaxies. According to them, in the past (perhaps 10 billion years ago) is very large M60-UCD1, numbering about 10 billion stars, met with an even larger galaxy M60, which took her stars and dark matter.

Researchers believe that once fully absorb M60 M60-UCD1, and its black hole will merge with the black hole 4.5 billion solar masses, and a thousand times more massive than the one that is in the center of the Milky Way.

Nature of the motion of stars in the ultra-dwarf galaxies indicates presence of a supermassive black hole. Thus, the actual number of supermassive black holes in nearby regions of the universe can be twice as much as previously thought.

Conclusions of the scientists have been published in the scientific journal Nature.


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