Evidence found for existence of intermediate size black hole

Jul 06, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
Galaxy ESO 243-49, about 300 million light-years away, is home to the newly found black hole. Credit: NASA, ESA and S. Farrell (U. Sydney)

(Phys.org) -- Over the years, cosmologists have found ample evidence of just two kinds of black holes: stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes. The former are considered small by most standards, just several times the weight of our sun; the latter, as their name implies, huge and as heavy as millions of our sun combined. Not so easy to find have been those that lie somewhere in-between, and because of that, their existence has been mostly speculative. Now, it appears that has changed as a group of international researchers has found evidence that suggests one such black hole appears to be on the order of 90,000 of our suns. The team has found as they explain in their paper published in the journal Science, that ESO 243-49 HLX-1, first discovered in 2009, appears to have the characteristics of an intermediate mass black hole.

HLX-1 has been described as being discovered almost by accident, as the research team at the time was instead focused on its host . Black holes are generally more likely to sit at the center of galaxies such as the one that is believed to exist at the center of our own . But HLX-1 was found, uncharacteristically, out in the spiral. It came to notice only because it was spewing a lot of x-rays and radio .

Because of those findings, this new research team began to focus exclusively on the black hole, hoping that it would be the first example found of an intermediate sample. To figure out if it was, the team took measurements from around the time HLX-1 was first discovered and applied theoretical formulas that have been derived over the years to predict the behavior of intermediate black holes. Then, last year, they made a second round of observations and found they matched almost perfectly with what the theories had predicted leading the researchers to proclaim HLX-1 as the first discovered intermediate mass black hole.

An arrow shows the location of the black hole HLX-1 in the galaxy ESO 243-49. Credit: NASA, ESA and S. Farrell (U. Sydney)

How intermediate mass black holes have come to exist is still not very well understood however. Some suggest they may have sprung into existence as tight clusters of stars collapsed into one single black hole. Others theorize that they may have come about as entities all on their own in the aftermath of the big bang; others yet say that maybe they started out as massive that shrunk over time for unknown reasons. Because of the many possibilities, researchers will undoubtedly be kept busy for many years trying to find the best possible explanation, but at least now they will have a real one to study.

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More information: Natalie Webb, David Cseh, Emil Lenc, Olivier Godet, Didier Barret, Stephane Corbel, Sean Farrell, Robert Fender, Neil Gehrels, Ian Heywood. "Radio Detections During Two State Transitions of the Intermediate Mass Black Hole HLX-1." Science Express, 5 July 2012. DOI: 10.1126/science.1222779

ABSTRACT
Relativistic jets are streams of plasma moving at appreciable fractions of the speed of light. They have been observed from stellar mass black holes (~3−20 solar masses, M☉) as well as supermassive black holes (~106−109 M☉) found in the centres of most galaxies. Jets should also be produced by intermediate mass black holes (~102−105 M☉), although evidence for this third class of black hole has until recently been weak. We report the detection of transient radio emission at the location of the intermediate mass black hole candidate ESO 243-49 HLX-1, which is consistent with a discrete jet ejection event. These observations also allow us to refine the mass estimate of the black hole to be between ~9 × 103 M☉ and ~9 × 104 M☉.

Press release

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technodiss
1 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2012
interesting stuff. i'm sure someone is correlating this to an alien civilization experimenting with high energy particle accelerators like the lhc.
i had thought that black holes required a certain amount of mass at the center of an enormous implosion in order to actually form. when our own sun goes nova it is unlikely to collapse into a singularity, while a much, much larger star IS likely to collapse in such a manner when fusion can no longer be sustained
Tuxford
1 / 5 (10) Jul 06, 2012
LaViolette suggests that this black hole is instead a supermassive star of finite density ejected from the galactic core.

http://starburstf...g/?p=337

Astronomers infer that the blue stars surrounding the ejected core must be young, and thus that stripping of stars from a dwarf parent galaxy must of happened very recently. These conclusions seem a stretch to plausibility. LaViolette explains that these blue stars are actually very old, and naturally arise in regions of high mass density.

http://phys.org/n...axy.html
xX_GT_Xx
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2012
The existence of intermediate black holes should be no surprise to anyone. There are stellar mass black holes, and there are supermassive black holes. The supermassive ones had to get supermassive somehow, right? Nobody's thought of that? It seems more plausible that massive black holes "shrunk over time for unknown reasons"?
PosterusNeticus
5 / 5 (7) Jul 06, 2012
when our own sun goes nova it is unlikely to collapse into a singularity


Our sun will never "go nova", so it is impossible rather than merely unlikely for it to collapse into a black hole. The fate of our star is to peter out as a lone white dwarf.
LagomorphZero
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
interesting stuff. i'm sure someone is correlating this to an alien civilization experimenting with high energy particle accelerators like the lhc.
i had thought that black holes required a certain amount of mass at the center of an enormous implosion in order to actually form. when our own sun goes nova it is unlikely to collapse into a singularity, while a much, much larger star IS likely to collapse in such a manner when fusion can no longer be sustained

technodiss: you are correct, stars need a higher mass than our sun to suffer gravitational collapse, the value is currently 1.44 solar masses. Want to learn more? http://en.wikiped...ar_limit
El_Nose
4.9 / 5 (7) Jul 06, 2012
@xxGTxx

It not that no one thought of them before -- this is the first time evidence says that this might be one. It is not an issue of not expected -- it's never been seen before.

If yo ugo to an island and see 200 different 80 yr old women and 1000 toddler girls after 10 yrs you might write an article when you run into a 26 yr old woman.
xX_GT_Xx
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2012
I might. But it would not include how surprised I am at seeing one. I would not write puzzling features about how peculiar it is that 26 year old women didn't seem to exist until now. And I certainly wouldn't posit that maybe the 26 year old is a result of one of the 80 year olds getting younger "for unknown reasons".
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2012
I might. But it would not include how surprised I am at seeing one. I would not write puzzling features about how peculiar it is that 26 year old women didn't seem to exist until now. And I certainly wouldn't posit that maybe the 26 year old is a result of one of the 80 year olds getting younger "for unknown reasons".


They didn't do that actually. The paper itself says no such thing. The bit about how an intermediate bh might form is nothing more than an overzealous reporter asking silly questions to expand the story with soft science fluff. When reading press releases, always keep in mind that they are written by and edited by pubilic relations people and reporters.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (7) Jul 06, 2012
All black holes start off at the sub-atomic scale and grow from there, it makes no difference what the exact mechanism of formation is.

Stellar collapse? That happens from the inside out, so it must happen ultimately with a single object of microscopic black hole size which then grows and consumes the whole star.

Once you get a stellar mass black hole, it's a matter of it eating enough stuff to become something bigger, and that depends on location. It might happen in a cosmic eye blink, or it might take eons and eons for any progress whatsoever to occur.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2012
Yes, silly fluff. The standard prediction of intermediate holes is as I understand it, since SMBHs seems to grow with the galaxy housing them, that they originate in dwarf galaxies. Since dwarf galaxies are eaten by larger galaxies, and you can see their star streams long after (Milky Way has such), you would expect to see intermediates in the disk and halo before they merge with the center SMBH of the host galaxy.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2012
@ Lurker2358: The collapse is caused by fusion ending, so no radiation pressure left to prevent it. http://en.wikiped...collapse . "If the mass of the remnant exceeds about 34 solar masses (the TolmanOppenheimerVolkoff limit[14])either because the original star was very heavy or because the remnant collected additional mass through accretion of mattereven the degeneracy pressure of neutrons is insufficient to stop the collapse. No known mechanism (except possibly quark degeneracy pressure, see quark star) is powerful enough to stop the implosion and the object will inevitably collapse to form a black hole.[72]"

Theoretically a larger hole forms as soon as the volume fulfill the BH criteria making the singularity. (Similarly, an evaporating BH may skip a few beats in the end - still an open question.)

There are several ways to form BHs btw, see the article.
Parsec
5 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2012
The existence of intermediate black holes should be no surprise to anyone. There are stellar mass black holes, and there are supermassive black holes. The supermassive ones had to get supermassive somehow, right? Nobody's thought of that? It seems more plausible that massive black holes "shrunk over time for unknown reasons"?

Everyone has always assumed that intermediate sized black holes exist. This is the first actual confirmation of an actual observation of one.
Parsec
not rated yet Jul 06, 2012
All black holes start off at the sub-atomic scale and grow from there, it makes no difference what the exact mechanism of formation is.

Stellar collapse? That happens from the inside out, so it must happen ultimately with a single object of microscopic black hole size which then grows and consumes the whole star.

Once you get a stellar mass black hole, it's a matter of it eating enough stuff to become something bigger, and that depends on location. It might happen in a cosmic eye blink, or it might take eons and eons for any progress whatsoever to occur.

You can't actually have a stellar mass black hole. The Chandrasekhar limit is 1.3 solar masses.
celine bag
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2012
Stellar collapse? That happens from the inside out, so it must happen ultimately with a single object of microscopic black hole size which then grows and consumes the whole star.
typicalguy
not rated yet Jul 07, 2012
Stellar collapse? That happens from the inside out, so it must happen ultimately with a single object of microscopic black hole size which then grows and consumes the whole star.


No. No it doesn't. You don't understand black holes. A black hole is formed anytime sufficient mass is packed into a small enough volume. It doesn't have to grow as you describe. We don't even understand what happens at the scales you describe. Micro holes don't have to be possible for BH's to form. With the core collapse, the matter is packed into a small area and this creates the black hole. There is no reason to need a microhole to form first. In fact, as a star collapses, the hole would form as soon as the matter reached high enough density, probably before the collapse is even completed if the star is massive enough.

Another thing, some people have predicted that a large group of regular stars packed in close orbit could create a black hole. This is similar to the universe as a whole.
Bowler_4007
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2012
has anyone ever thought that perhaps black holes aren't actually holes at all? perhaps they're something like neutron star (solid and spherical bodies) but with such immense gravity that light cannot escape thus hiding what a black hole actually is
Tuxford
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2012
has anyone ever thought that perhaps black holes aren't actually holes at all? perhaps they're something like neutron star (solid and spherical bodies) but with such immense gravity that light cannot escape thus hiding what a black hole actually is


Yes, anyone has. In LaViolette's SubQuantum Kinectics, densities plateau at a finite value, leading to a massive star that contains most light except for that which is directed radially. Thus, the star would appear much less luminous than would otherwise be expected. Most serious nuclear physicists ( I am told by one currently in the grey-beard club ) don't believe in singularities anyway. Ignore the relativist's black-hole squawking here. It is not relevant.
jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Jul 20, 2012
tuxford, you want to talk about desperately trying to match observation to crackpottery? look no further than laviolette....here are some works from tuxfords idol laviolette, it illustrates how based in reality his worldview really is.this is from a book he wrote.First time proof of the existence of interstellar radio signals of intelligent origin being sent to us.Evidence that pulsars are part of a vast network of ETI communication beacons.This exhaustive study presents first time proof that astronomers have been receiving radio signals of intelligent origin. As early as 1967 and continuing to the present, radio astronomers have been carefully studying and cataloging unusual interstellar beacons called pulsars thinking them to be stars of natural origin.Dr. LaViolette, who has been researching pulsars for 27 years, shows that, up to now, the nature of these radio sources has been grossly....

jsdarkdestruction
not rated yet Jul 20, 2012
misunderstood. He has discovered that a number of very unique pulsars are nonrandomly distributed in the sky and mark key Galactic locatations that have particular significance from an ETI communication standpoint. He also presents evidence of unusual geometric alignments among pulsars and intriguing pulse period relationships. Equally compelling is the message they are sending-a warning about a past Galactic core explosion disaster that should help us avert a future global tragedy. Contains extensive analysis of pulsar data, revealing new ideas about the origins and functions of pulsars Provides proof of an extraterrestrial communication network Includes information about the formation of crop circles and force-field-beaming technolgy.hmmmm, crop circles, force field beaming, et communication codes hidden in the stars revealing this all to laviolette......SCIENCE FICTION IS WHAT LAVIOLETTE IS TUXFORD!!! GIVE IT A BREAK ALREADY!

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