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Scientists Discover Black Hole That Could Change Everything We Know About The Universe

by : Cameron Frew on : 29 Mar 2021 17:48
Scientists Discover Black Hole That Could Change Everything We Know About The UniversePixabay

Scientists may have discovered a groundbreaking black hole around 55,000 times the mass of the sun.

There’s a number of different types of black holes out there in the galaxy. There’s stellar black holes, arguably the most commonly understood, which form when the centre of a huge star collapses in upon itself, also causing a supernova, according to NASA.

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There’s also supermassive black holes (no, not the Muse song) which are believed to have formed at the same time as the galaxy they are in. But then there’s Goldilocks black holes, also known as ‘intermediate-mass’, reported to be a missing link which could unlock further knowledge – if not upend what we already know – about the universe.

Recent research published in the Nature Astronomy journal, conducted by the University of Melbourne and Monash University, examines GRB 950830.

Lead author and University of Melbourne PhD student James Paynter tracked a gravitationally lensed gamma-ray burst, explained by SciTech Daily as a ‘half-second flash of high-energy light emitted by a pair of merging stars’, which exhibited signs of a primordial black hole – another term for the rare cosmic entity.

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Pixabay Pixabay

Paynter said: ‘While we know that these supermassive black holes lurk in the cores of most, if not all galaxies, we don’t understand how these behemoths are able to grow so large within the age of the universe.’

Professor Eric Thrane, co-author of the study from Monash University School of Physics and Astronomy and chief investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav), said: ‘This newly discovered black hole could be an ancient relic — a primordial black hole — created in the early universe before the first stars and galaxies formed.

He added: ‘These early black holes may be the seeds of the supermassive black holes that live in the hearts of galaxies today.’

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Researchers estimate there could be as many as 46,000 intermediate mass black holes in our Milky Way galaxy alone, despite how rarely they’re spotted.

As per the New Scientist, co-author and gravitational lensing pioneer Professor Rachel Webster, from the University of Melbourne, warned ‘we can’t be 100 per cent sure [this is a black hole], but the other likely objects are either not compact enough or not common enough.’

She said the results were ‘exciting’ and ‘using this new black hole candidate, we can estimate the total number of these objects in the universe. We predicted that this might be possible 30 years ago, and it is exciting to have discovered a strong example.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Science, Black Hole, Now, Space

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Nature Astronomy and 2 others