Astronomers discover new kind of black hole
Astronomers have discovered what could be a new class of black hole: a "medium-size" one that falls somewhere between "supermassive" and "stellar mass."
Natalie Webb from Université de Toulouse and her research team of astronomers from France, Australia, the UK and the US discovered the black hole, science site io9.com said.
"(B)y observing distant outbursts of super-hot gas, astronomers believe they have stumbled upon a black hole that's anywhere from 20,000 to 90,000 times the mass of our sun — placing it squarely within an intermediate class of black holes," it said.
Previously, scientists believed there were two classes of black holes, the first being supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, and whose mass is a million to a billion times the mass of our sun.
The second class includes stellar mass black holes, which are three to 30 times our sun's mass.
With the discovery, the researchers are excited as it could explain where supermassive black holes come from.
They are theorizing that middleweight black holes eventually graduate to supermassive class given the right circumstances.
Hyper-luminous X-ray source 1
Dubbed HLX-1 ("hyper-luminous X-ray source 1"), the recently discovered black hole is some 300 million light-years away.
It is described as "hyper-luminous" because it is giving off a tremendous amount of X-rays, io9.com said.
Astronomers theorized the black hole was consuming either a gas cloud or an entire star, causing it to shine bright in X-rays.
But the team noted this was a "special" black hole as it was 10 times the brightness of other similar objects - and about 3,000 times bigger than regular stellar black holes.
Also, the researchers suspect a star is responsible for the X-ray bursts, as the X-ray flashes happen at fairly regular intervals of about once every day.
They theorized the black hole is in the process of consuming an orbiting companion sun.
As this was the first black hole of its kind, the astronomers are focusing their future research to find more. — TJD, GMA News