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Scientists Observe 13 Black Holes at One Billion Light Years from Earth

Scientists Observe 13 Black Holes at One Billion Light Years from Earth

Wednesday, 8 January, 2020 - 07:15
A handout photo provided by the European Southern Observatory shows the first photograph of the black hole at the centre of Messier 87, a massive galaxy in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. Photo: AFP
Cairo - Hazem Badr
A team of US researchers has observed 13 black holes in dwarf galaxies located at around one billion light-years from earth.

The first image ever taken for black holes was announced in 2019, and since then, the global interest in this astronomical phenomenon has grown remarkably. Black holes indicate the existence of a highly dense region containing a huge compact mass that exceeds one million solar masses, with a gravity power that nothing can escape.

Researchers around the world have rushed to explore further black holes, following the discovery of the black hole captured in the Messier 87 Galaxy located at around 55 million light years from earth. The image of this phenomenon was among the best astronomical events in 2019.

Among those efforts was the discovery of 13 black holes by researchers from the Montana State University whose study was recently published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The new black holes have been discovered in a constellation of small galaxies known as "dwarf galaxies" located at nearly one billion light years. They are more than 100 times less massive than our own Milky Way, average about 400,000 times the mass of our sun, and are described as the smallest galaxies hosting black holes.

The researchers used the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array (VLA) telescope to make the discovery. The team leader used the VLA to discover the first massive black hole in a dwarf starburst galaxy in 2011.

According to a report released on Monday by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the discovery was a surprise to astronomers and spurred a radio search for more. The new VLA observations revealed that 13 of these galaxies have strong evidence for a massive black hole that is actively consuming surrounding material.

Lead Author Amy Reines said: "We were very surprised to find that, in roughly half of those 13 galaxies, the black hole is not at the center of the galaxy, unlike the case in larger galaxies."

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