The smallest black hole was recently discovered by scientists. Astronomers have discovered the black hole in the middle of a dwarf galaxy at around 340 million light-years away. The black hole, inside the RGG 118 dwarf galaxy has a weight of about 50,000 times the mass of the Sun. Despite this, it has half of the mass of the next-smallest black hole discovered as of yet.
The smallest black hole discovered is 100 times less massive than the black hole in the center of our galaxy and around 200,000 times less massive than the biggest black hole discovered to date.
The recent discovery is quite important for researchers as they are attempting to better understand the process of evolution surrounding supermassive black holes, which are believed to be present in most of the galaxies.
The lead author of the study, Vivienne Baldassare from the University of Michigan said that even though this could sound contradictory, finding such a small, big black hole is quite important. She said that they could use the observations of the smallest black hole in order to better understand how they increase in size and mass.
The RGG 118 dwarf galaxy was discovered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Baldassare and her team used the 6.5-metre Clay Telescope from Chile and the Chandra X-ray Observatory owned by NASA in order to characterize the smallest black hole.
The scientists were able to analyze the movement of the cool gas at the center of the dwarf galaxy in optical light with the help of the Clay Telescope and zoomed in on the emissions of x-rays from the swirling, hot gas in the proximity of the black hole by using the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
The measurements both proved that the black hole inside the RGG 118 dwarf galaxy acts in a similar matter to other black holes in the centers of numerous other galaxies. Also supporting this finding were the velocities of stars that surround the black hole in the center of the galaxy.
One of the biggest mysteries in astrophysics is the presence of billion-solar mass black holes that must have been around inside the Universe less than a billion years after the Big Bang took place. The scientists wish that through this recent discovery of the smallest black hole that they could refine the models of these huge puzzles.
The recent study was published on the arXiv.org website.
Image Source: i.space.com