Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Inbox Astronomy: Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole


Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole

Release date: Mar 31, 2020 1:00 PM (EDT)

Like detectives carefully building a case, astronomers gathered evidence and eliminated suspects until they found the best evidence yet that the death of a star, first witnessed in X-rays, could be traced back to an elusive mid-sized black hole. The result is a long-sought win for astronomy, as the mid-sized "missing link" in the black hole family has thus far thwarted detection. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to follow up on multiple X-ray observations of a suspected tidal disruption event. This is caused when a wayward star comes too close to the gravity well of a black hole and gets shredded by its tidal forces. The intense heat from stellar cannibalism betrays the black hole's presence with a burst of X-rays. Hubble resolved the source region of this X-ray flare as a star cluster outside the Milky Way galaxy. Such clusters have been considered likely places to find an intermediate-mass black hole. The discovery eliminated the possibility that the X-rays came from another type of source within the Milky Way.

Read more
Find the entire Hubble News archive, images, and videos at HubbleSite.org.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute's Office of Public Outreach.

Please do not reply to this message.

You are receiving this email because you are subscribed to the Inbox Astronomy mailing list.

No comments: