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Astronomers discovered a mid-size black hole - a missing link in understanding of these objects

Astronomers have discovered a black hole that is neither too big nor too small. With its average size, it appears to be a missing link in understanding these “brutal” space objects, Reuters reported, citing a magazine publication. “Astrophysical
In addition, the black hole rips and swallows an “unfortunate” star that ended up near it.

Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and two X-ray observatories, researchers determined that the mass of the black hole in question is 50,000 times that of the Sun. The object is located 740 million light years from Earth in a dwarf galaxy dotted with far fewer stars compared to the Milky Way, BTA reported.

Black holes are extremely dense objects whose gravitational pull is so powerful that even light cannot slip away.

The galaxy in question is among the few similar “average mass” objects ever discovered. It is much smaller than supermassive black holes in the centers of large galaxies, but it is much more extensive than its “sisters'” formed as a result of the collapse of massive individual stars.

"We confirm that this object, originally discovered in 2010, is indeed a medium-mass black hole that ruptures and swallows a nearby star with a mass approximately three times the size of a solar one,” says University of Toulouse astrophysicist and study co-author Natalie Webb.

The specialist adds that scientists have been looking for black holes with an average mass of four decades, but so far known examples of similar objects are less than ten. However, the number is supposed to be higher.

"From this point of view, we are talking about a significant discovery. In addition, a black hole absorbing a star occurs on average once every 10,000 years in any galaxy, which makes it even less frequent,” Webb adds.


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