Star death reveals black hole at center of dwarf galaxy

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers led by scientists from the University of California at Santa Cruz announced the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in a dwarf galaxy 850 million light-years from Earth.

Scientists were able to estimate the mass and size of the black hole. The discovery is of great importance for understanding the evolution of galaxies.

The death of a star not only lit up an entire galaxy, but gave astronomers an unexpected tool to study the evolution of the universe.

An international team of astronomers led by scientists from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Washington announced the discovery of an intermediate-mass black hole in a dwarf galaxy 850 million light-years from Earth.

Astronomers observed an event that occurred in the galaxy SDSS J152120.07+140410.5. The star came too close to the black hole at the center of the galaxy and was torn apart by tidal forces. The flare was registered by several observatories at once.

The destruction process was fast, but astronomers were able to estimate the size of the black hole and its mass.

“This discovery has caused widespread excitement because now we will be able to use tidal disruption events not only to detect more intermediate-mass black holes in dwarf galaxies, but also to measure their masses,” said co-author Ryan Foley.

“The fact that we were able to capture an intermediate-mass black hole as it devoured a star gave us a remarkable opportunity to discover something that would otherwise be hidden from us,” said Charlotte Angus, lead author of the work.

“Moreover, we can use the properties of the flare itself to better understand this difficult-to-observe group of intermediate-mass black holes, which arguably make up the majority of black holes at the centers of galaxies.”

Evolution of galaxies

Supermassive black holes are at the centers of all large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. Astronomers speculate that these massive objects, millions or billions of times the mass of the sun.

May have grown from “intermediate-mass” black holes with masses ranging from thousands to hundreds of thousands of solar masses.

That is, black holes, similar to the one that astronomers registered and described in their study.

One theory for how supermassive black holes formed is that the early universe consisted of dwarf galaxies with intermediate-mass black holes.

Gradually, these dwarf galaxies merged or were swallowed up by more massive galaxies. And the nuclei of galaxies merged, creating a supermassive black hole at the center of the growing galaxy.

“If we can understand the evolution of intermediate-mass black holes how many and where they are we can determine whether our theories for the formation of supermassive black holes are correct,” said co-author Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz.

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