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Fri Nov 1, 2019, 10:13 PM

Astronomers Just Found the First Evidence That 'Mini Black Holes' Exist

By Yasemin Saplakoglu - Staff Writer 10 hours ago

Researchers discovered a relatively low-mass black hole orbiting a rapidly rotating star 10,000 light years away.
(Image: Jason Shults at The Ohio State University)

An entirely new class of black holes may be lurking in the universe, and these may be far tinier than what scientists have found before, according to new findings.

Black holes are massive celestial objects that gobble up everything that comes too close; not even light can escape a black hole's intense gravitational grasp. The search for black holes, small and large such as the supermassive ones that sit at the center of most galaxies, including our own helps researchers piece together how the universe works and creates a narrative for the life and death of stars.

That's because black holes are the corpses of what used to be massive stars that underwent an explosive demise, ultimately collapsing in on themselves. The explosive death and subsequent collapse of stars can form two different objects. If the original star is massive enough, this explosion will yield a black hole, but if it's not, the corpse will instead form a small, dense object known as a neutron star.

Astronomers typically search for these black holes in our own galaxy by measuring X-rays that are emitted when black holes siphon material from nearby stars. In distant galaxies, on the other hand, researchers look for gravitational waves produced by the merging of two black holes or from a collision of neutron stars.


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