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Astronomers Have Discovered Something Pretty Weird About Black Holes

The Universe can be believed of as one big, constantly expanding space. An interesting theory about this expansion undertakes that theuniverse could’ve hatched from a peculiarity — not the high-tech kind — similar to way that black holes are said to be the source of galaxies. 

There is much about the establishment of galaxies and black holes that we don’t comprehend yet, let alone the very origins of the universe, but experts continue to evaluate and explore this interesting theory. Recently, a new study published in The Astronomical Journal is providing us with more signs about how black holes function in the cosmos.

Not long ago, SMBH (supermassive black holes) were believed to be found only in bigger galaxies, like the Milky Way. Then, a group of astronomers from the University of Utah found a SMBH at the center of an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy, which they concluded must be an unusual existence. But now the team has found SMBH at the centers of two other dwarf galaxies named M59cO and VUCD3.
Not only were these SMBH marked in more dwarf galaxies, but they are even larger than the Milky Way’s SMBH, called Sagittarius A (which is about 4 million times the mass of the sun). “It is pretty amazing when you really think about it,” lead researcher Chris Ahn said in an interview for aUniversity of Utah press release. “These ultra-compact dwarfs are around 0.1 % the size of the Milky Way, yet they host SMBH that are bigger than the black hole at the center of our own galaxy Milky Way.”

Image credit: University of Utah
Having SMBH at the center of these dwarf galaxies could describe why they were found to be more massive than experts estimated when considering just their stars. In the case of M59cO, its black hole was 18 % of the galaxy’s total mass, while the VUCD3’s black hole accounted for 13 % of its total mass. In comparison, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole makes up less than 0.01 % of the galaxy’s total mass.

In addition to providing vision into these specific galaxies, this discovery can also help us comprehend how other galaxies came to be.

Anil Seth explained in the press release that “We still don’t fully understand how galaxies form and evolve over time, these objects can tell us how galaxies merge and collide.”

The study also displays that dwarf galaxies are not just star clusters. They could be younger versions of bigger galaxies like the one we call home.

“We know that galaxies merge and combine all the time — that is how galaxies evolve. Our Milky Way is eating up galaxies as we speak, our general picture of how galaxies form is that little galaxies merge to form big galaxies. But we have a really incomplete picture of that. The ultra-compact dwarf galaxies provide us a longer timeline to be able to look at what is happened in the past.” Seth went on to say.

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