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It is very difficult to detect black holes in space.

I discovered something that would otherwise remain hidden.

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to: Tanya Banner

It is very difficult to detect black holes in space. © imago images / YAY Images

Intermediate-sized black holes are extremely difficult to detect. But now one of the orbs has revealed itself: it devoured a star.

Santa Cruz – Black holes are very mysterious celestial bodies: they have such a strong gravitational force that they inevitably attract and swallow everything that comes close to them. But that’s not all: what once by a Black hole devour can not escape. This also applies to light: it no longer penetrates the black hole, which makes it practically “invisible”.

Black holes can therefore only be detected in two ways: through the enormous gravitational influence on other celestial bodies, or by devouring a star, which thus shines brightly for a short time. The latter is called a “tidal disruption event” or in German “tidal star rupture event”. included How close is the star to the black hole at the center of the galaxy?It would be torn apart and swallowed by the black hole.

The star lights up to reveal the presence of the black hole

The star shines brightly, revealing the enclosed black hole to casual observers. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have now been able to observe exactly this case: With the help of the Young Supernova Experiment (YSE), a sky-watching system that aims to detect cosmic explosions and transient astrophysical events, researchers have detected a bright glow in a dwarf galaxy.

An unknown black hole is getting away by devouring a star

The research team reported in their study published in Commercial newspaper natural astronomy released had become. Until this point, it was not known that there was a black hole in the center of the galaxy. The researchers now hope to be able to draw conclusions about the relationships between black holes and galaxies from the observation.

explains astrophysicist Ryan Foley, a co-author of the study. The study’s lead author, Charlotte Angus of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, said: “The fact that we were able to capture this medium-sized black hole as it devoured a star gave us an amazing opportunity to discover something that would otherwise remain hidden from us.”

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The discovery of the black hole: “a wonderful opportunity”

Experts believe that intermediate mass black holes make up the majority of black holes in the centers of galaxies. Research problem: It is difficult to detect intermediate-sized black holes at the center of dwarf galaxies because classical techniques for finding mysterious celestial bodies are usually not accurate enough for relatively “small” black holes. Therefore, very few dwarf galaxies are known to contain a black hole.

Universe: Researchers want to know more about intermediate-mass black holes

However, it will be very important for researchers to learn more about intermediate-mass black holes: “If we understand how many intermediate-mass black holes are there – how many and where they are located – we can find out if we have intermediate-mass black holes,” explains astrophysicist Enrico Ramirez- Another co-author of the study, Ruiz, theories about the formation of supermassive black holes, adds fellow astronomer Vivian Baldassare: “One of the biggest open questions in astronomy How do supermassive black holes form today?

These supermassive black holes are found at the centers of many large galaxies – there is also one black hole at the center of the Milky Way, from recently picked up by researchers. Experts hypothesize that these giant black holes, which contain several million to billions of solar masses, were formed from smaller black holes, which only have thousands to hundreds of thousands of solar masses. (tab)