Hubble Finds New Evidence for Intermediate-Mass Black Hole in Omega Centauri

  • Released Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Intermediate-mass black holes are a long-sought “missing link” in black hole evolution. They are smaller than the supermassive black holes that lie at the cores of large galaxies, but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of massive stars. Only a few candidates have been found to date.

Now, a team of astronomers analyzed over 500 images from 20 years of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observations to find evidence of an intermediate-mass black hole by tracking seven fast-moving stars in the Omega Centauri globular star cluster.

Scientists think a massive object is gravitationally pulling on the stars within Omega Centauri, keeping them close to its center. From the motions of the stars, they estimate it has a mass of at least 8,200 times that of our Sun, the mass range for an Intermediate-Mass Black Hole is between 100 and 100,000 solar masses, therefore the only object that can be so massive is a black hole.

For more information, visit https://nasa.gov/hubble.

Music Credit:
"A Simpler Time" by Oskari Nurminen [ASCAP] via Universal Publishing Prod. Music Nordic [STIM], and Universal Production Music.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, please credit individual items as indicated above.

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
This page was last updated on Friday, June 14, 2024 at 3:43 PM EDT.


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