Hubble Space Telescope revealed the strongesr evidence for mid-sized black holes in the universe. Hubble has also confirmed that this "intermediate-mass" black hole dwells inside a dense star. Intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are a long-sought 'missing link' in black hole evolution. There have been a few other IMBH candidates found to date.
They are smaller than then supermassive black holes that lie at the crores of large galazies but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of massive stars. This news black hole is over 50,000 times the mass of our Sun. IMBHs are hard to find.
"Intermediate-mass black holes are very elusive on objects, and so it is critically to carefully consider and rule out alternative expalanations for each candidate. This is what Hubble has allowed to do for our candidate," said Dacheng Lin of the University of New Hampshire, principal investigator of the stud1.
Lin and his team used Hubble to follow up on leads from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton), which carries three high-throughtput X-ray telescopes and a optical monitor to make long uninterrupted exposures porviding highly sensitive observations.
"Adding further X-ray observations allowed us to star to understand the total energy outpit. This helps us to understand the type of star that was disrupted by the black hole," said Natalie.
In 2006 these high-energy satellites detected a powerful flare of X-rays, but it was not clear if they originated from inside or outside of our galaxy.
Confirming one IMBH opens the door to the possibility that many more lurk undetected in the dark, waiting to be given away by a star passing too close. Lin plans to continue this meticulous detective work, using the methods his team has proved successful.
(With inputs from ANI)