Strange massive black hole found, experts say there's 'no explanation'

A team of astronomers discovered a strangely massive black hole at the center of a galaxy that is orbiting the Milky Way.

1 minute & 21 seconds read time

Astronomers were trying to measure the dark matter profile for one of the Milky Way's satellite galaxies and discovered a massive black hole at the galaxy's center.

Strange massive black hole found, experts say there's 'no explanation' 01

Astronomers from The University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory were inspecting a Milky Way dwarf galaxy called Leo I in an attempt to find out of dark matter density increases or decreases towards a galaxy's center. Leo I lacks dark matter, hence its selection as an inspection candidate. The astronomers compiled the data and implemented it, along with models, into a supercomputer and were shocked at the results.

"The models are screaming that you need a black hole at the center; you don't really need a lot of dark matter. You have a very small galaxy that is falling into the Milky Way, and its black hole is about as massive as the Milky Way's. The mass ratio is absolutely huge. The Milky Way is dominant; the Leo I black hole is almost comparable," said UT astronomer, Karl Gebhardt.

A black hole almost the size of the one at the center of the Milky Way was discovered. This discovery may redefine astronomers' understanding of the evolution of galaxies. UT Austin doctoral graduate Maria Jose Bustamante, who led the team of astronomers, said, "there is no explanation for this kind of black hole in dwarf spheroidal galaxies."

The team of researchers found that the results from the data were different from past models of Leo I, and the disparities can be attributed to a combination of better data, supercomputer simulations, and the center of the galaxy being mostly unexplored.

"If the mass of Leo I's black hole is high, that may explain how black holes grow in massive galaxies," Gebhardt said. As eventually, Leo I's black hole would merge with the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, significantly increasing its mass.


Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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