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Discovery of a new type of black hole bridges the gap between Stellar and Supermassive black holes

A black hole is a region in space where gravity is so strong that no particles, including electromagnetic radiation, cannot escape.  

There are two well-known black holes in the Universe when it comes to size – the stellar class, with mass three to ten times that of our Sun, and the supermassive one, million to billion times heavier and found at the center of most galaxies. 

The vast difference in the sizes raises the most interesting questions in astronomy – How supermassive black holes come into existence? What is the missing link? 

Stellar-class black holes are created when a massive star reaches the end of life and implodes, collapsing in itself. However, scientists are still not able to figure out the origin of supermassive black holes. 

Now, the discovery of a medium-sized black hole, about 55,000 solar masses, might solve this puzzle and be the missing link between the two extremes. Until now, scientists have discovered black holes of masses between 100 and 100,000 solar masses. This is the first time they discovered a black hole with a mass in the midrange. The findings are reported in the journal Nature Astronomy

The new black hole was discovered indirectly by a technique known as gravitational lensing. While the scientists were able to measure the mass of the black hole accurately, they could not determine its origins. 

While there are multiple possibilities exists in the formation of these intermediate black holes, the most compelling theory is that they are born this way. An estimated 40,000 such black holes exist in our galaxy alone. 

According to Eric Thrane, a professor at Monash University and a senior author of this paper, the newly discovered black hole could be an ancient relic formed before the formation of stars and galaxies. And could be the missing link and the seed for the supermassive black holes.  

Source: ScienceAlert

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