The mysterious black hole

Active black hole. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Active black hole. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Back on the sea of articles, surfing the latest news. And what is the latest rabbit from the hat?

Well, we know that they should be there, we know how do they look like, but we don’t know where they are and why we don’t see them.

And I’m not talking about aliens, they fit the description but they are not the main focus here. Rather I’m talking about the so called intermediate mass black hole (IMBH), the black holes between the small, stelar black holes (that you can find in your every day galaxy) and the massive and super-massive black holes (the hungry monsters found in the center of galaxies).

Using observation from the Hubble Space Telescope and Swift X-ray telescope, a group of scientists ( found a very good candidate for such a black hole, it’s name …….. the mysterious ESO 243-49 HLX-1. And the observations revealed another interesting fact, this particular black hole is surrounded by young bright stars and is in the process of feeding, resulting in a bright emission of X-rays. In fact is so luminous that it greatly exceeds the mass limit for stellar size black hole, and it’s mass is modeled at above 3000 solar masses.

More observations revealed that this black hole is found in a stellar cluster orbiting the edge of an S0a galaxy ESO 243-49. Also this cluster had a recent minor merger with the galaxy that has triggered the production of young bright stars.

Now, we found one, so the fact that we should see them is covered, also this observation confirms the previous suspicions that this type of black hole should form in globular clusters and the nuclei of dwarf galaxies, so now we know where they are.

The only question remaining is why we didn’t see them before. This present findings help answer this question as well, this particular black hole was observed at just the right moment, when it had enough fuel from the stellar cluster to shine is signal away.

Most likely after this active episode, the cluster will be caught by the galaxy, emptied by the gas, and by the time the young bright stars will end their lives the IMBH will regain it’s dark, uneventful life that made this type of object so mysterious.

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