A new class of black holes is found

The movie Interstellar makes more and more people curious about what black hole is. The special effects team working on Interstellar no doubt make the movie undoubtedly wonderful and also it end up advancing people’s knowledge of black holes at the same time.

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Picture from Interstellarmovie

According to Wikipedia,A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.

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Picture from BBC Earth

The star cluster 47 Tucanae, located about 13,000 to 16,000 light years from Earth, is a dense ball of stars. Hundreds of thousands of stars compacted into a 120 light-year span give off gamma rays and X-rays and more energetic events, but to date, no black holes had been found there. The center seemed ripe for opportunities to find one, but a lack of tidal disruption events and a jumble of stars hard to sift through obscured finding any lurking black holes there.

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Globular cluster 47 based on data from FORS1. Picture from Astronomy Magazine

“Astronomers found that a black hole of 2,200 solar masses is lying at the center of 47 Tucanae. Until now, though, astronomers have typically only found black holes of below 100 solar masses or above 10,000, the latter of which are the behemoths that power galaxies. These intermediate-mass black holes are believed to be seeds of supermassive black holes. As black holes feast, they gain mass.”–from Astronomy Magazine.

Finding more mid-range black holes can be hard. Black holes, especially larger ones, typically clean their general area of debris. And astronomers keeps on studying them and trying to find them in the immense universe. I do hope that human’s knowledge about the black holes can be further extended in the near future!

 

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One thought on “A new class of black holes is found

  1. This post helps to put into perspective how little we know about black holes. The simple fact that we have found so few that are of intermediate size shows how difficult they can be to spot unless they are just beginning or until they reach that “supermassive” state.

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