Black Hole wakes from deep slumber and starts eating nearby star

An Indian-origin astronomer led research has discovered intermediate-mass black hole that is nearly 5000 times the mass of the Sun. The discovery has given evidence for the existence of medium-sized black hole.

Astronomer Dheeraj Pasham from University of Maryland (UMD) who led the discovery and researchers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre said that apart from adding to list of medium-sized black holes, the discovery has given strong clue over the existence of these celestial objects. Prasham said the researchers are always in doubt whether these objects exist or not, but the finding has strengthened the notion of their existence.

“The result provides support to the idea that black holes exist on all size scales. When you describe something for the first time, there is always some doubt,” said Pasham, post-doctoral associate at the joint space-science institute, a research partnership between UMD and NASA Goddard. “Identifying a second candidate with a different instrument puts weight behind both findings and gives us confidence in our technique,” he added.

While explaining Pasham said that black holes exist in two sizes

  • Stellar-mass black holes that are few dozen times the mass of the Sun
  • Supermassive black holes that are million or billion times the mass of the Sun

Some astronomers believe that medium-sized black holes that weigh few thousand times the mass of our Sun and lie between these two extremes don’t exist while some have faith over existence of these objects.

NGC1313X-1 — the newly discovered intermediate-sized black hole candidate emits ultraluminous X-ray source. According to researchers, it is also among one of the brightest sources for X-rays in nearby universe.

Pasham comes under the category of astronomers which believe that ultraluminous X-rays are emitted by medium-sized black holes. According to Pasham these objects actively draw matter into them which generates enormous friction, in the process giving birth to X-ray radiations.

Moreover, Pasham and his team has found many intermediate-sized black holes in the nearby universe and they actively believe that third category of black hole do exist.

To further confirm the finding, NASA will launch a new X-ray telescope, the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), in 2016.

The study appeared in Astrophysical Journal Letters

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