Black holes are endlessly interesting objects. Among all the wonders of the Universe, a black hole is the most mysterious thing. And just when we think that these objects can not be weirder, scientists discovered something new. This time, astronomers found an intermediate-mass black hole. On a first sight, this doesn’t seem strange. Still, it is a brand new category: so far we know only for small, stellar and supermassive holes.
Researchers from Harvard and University of Queensland discovered an intermediate-mass black hole at the center of the globular star cluster 47 Tucanae. It is a 12 billion-year-old star cluster located 13,000 light-years from Earth. Interestingly, in this cluster still isn’t found the supermassive black hole as the center is gas-free, effectively starving any black hole that might lurk there. The mid-sized black hole was hypothetical by now. It is significantly massive than the stellar hole but less than a super hole. Astronomers measured that object weighs 2,200 times the mass of the Sun. Earlier assumptions about the weight of these holes were between 100 to 10,000 Suns. This is the first strong evidence of its existence. So, why this discovery is important?
As mentioned, we already know about small, stellar and supermassive holes. The stellar black hole is formed by the gravitational collapse of a massive star with approximately five to several tens of solar masses. On the other side, supermassive black hole is the largest known type of a hole with up to million solar masses. This type is in the center of every galaxy. In our Milkey Way, it is located in the Sagittarius A.
Discovered intermediate-mass black hole represents an ideal object to find the missing link between stellar and supermassive holes. Especially, we can found out how supermassive holes becomes that huge – although seems like an easy question, it’s not. Scientists hope the mid-sized holes will give us clues how the monsters that break physics laws were born. Also, maybe it can be figured out how mid-sized holes are created in the first place. There are some theories such as merged stellar holes or primordial black hole formed in the Big Bang.
Since we know now what indirect methods have to be used to detect these holes, scientists can found in our galaxy too and much more elsewhere.