Researchers find new relationship involving black holes in galaxies with small bulges

January 27, 2015
Artist's impression of a black hole at the centre of a galaxy. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz

Research at Swinburne University of Technology has shown that it is possible to predict the masses of black holes in galaxies for which it was previously thought not possible.

In large , the central black hole is related to the mass of the spheroid-shaped distribution of stars at the centre of the galaxy, known as the galaxy's 'bulge'.

Some astronomers have claimed that the size of black holes at the centres of galaxies with small bulges was unrelated to the bulge.

Even the four million solar in the bulge of our Milky Way galaxy was thought to be arbitrarily low relative to trends defined by their more massive, and therefore easier to detect, counterparts.

However, in previous work, Swinburne Professor Alister Graham, lead-author of the current research, identified a new relationship involving black holes in galaxies with small bulges. He demonstrated that the black hole in the bulge of the Milky Way was not set by chance but instead followed an astronomical rule.

"The formula is quadratic, in that the black hole mass quadruples every time the bulge mass doubles," Professor Graham said. "Therefore, if the bulge mass increases 10 times, the black hole mass increases 100 times."

Now, after studying more than 100 galaxies with black holes 4 to 40 times less massive than our Milky Way's black hole, they too have been found to follow this same rule.

"It turns out that there is yet more order in our Universe than previously appreciated," Professor Graham said.

"This is exciting not just because it provides further insight into the mechanics of black hole formation, but because of the predictions it allows us to make."

The gravitational collapse of massive stars can produce black holes up to a few tens of times the mass of our Sun. And black holes that are one-tenth of a million to ten billion times the mass of our Sun have been identified at the centres of giant galaxies. However, there is a missing population of intermediate-mass black holes.

Astronomers don't know if this is because of observational difficulties in finding them, or if the massive black holes at the centres of galaxies start life as 100,000 solar mass seed black holes that formed in the early Universe.

This latest result, which extends the new rule to 40-times lower masses, gives astronomers some confidence that it may extend even further, so the smallest bulges might host these missing intermediate-mass black holes.

"If confirmed, it would imply tremendous black hole appetites", co-author of the study, Dr Nicholas Scott, said. "There would need to be a dramatic growth of these small black holes relative to their host bulge, with the bulges growing via the creation of stars out of gas clouds while the black holes devour both gas and stars."

The researchers have identified a few dozen candidate galaxies in which they think intermediate-mass may be hiding. Future observations, with facilities such as the Square Kilometre Array and space-based X-ray telescopes, are expected to help resolve this black hole mystery.

Explore further: Red stars and big bulges: How black holes shape galaxies

More information: "The (black hole)-bulge mass scaling relation at low masses" 2015 ApJ 798 54. DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/798/1/54 . http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/798/1/54

Related Stories

Red stars and big bulges: How black holes shape galaxies

April 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —The universe we can see is made up of billions of galaxies, each containing anywhere from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of billions of stars. Large numbers of galaxies are elliptical in shape, red and mostly ...

How much of the universe is black holes?

June 17, 2014

We all fear black holes, but how many of them are there out there, really? Between the stellar mass black holes and the supermassive ones, just how much of our Universe is black holes?

Black holes growing faster than expected

January 16, 2013

(Phys.org)—Astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology have discovered how supermassive black holes grow - and it's not what was expected.

The cosmic seeds of black holes

January 19, 2015

Supermassive black holes with millions or billions of solar-masses of material are found at the nuclei of most galaxies. During the embryonic stages of these galaxies they are thought to play an important role, acting as ...

Recommended for you

In search of the ninth planet

October 17, 2017

A University of Michigan doctoral student has logged two pieces of evidence that may support the existence of a planet that could be part of our solar system, beyond Neptune.

To keep Saturn's A ring contained, its moons stand united

October 17, 2017

For three decades, astronomers thought that only Saturn's moon Janus confined the planet's A ring - the largest and farthest of the visible rings. But after poring over NASA's Cassini mission data, Cornell astronomers now ...

Microbes leave 'fingerprints' on Martian rocks

October 17, 2017

Scientists around Tetyana Milojevic from the Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Vienna are in search of unique biosignatures, which are left on synthetic extraterrestrial minerals by microbial activity. The biochemist ...

15 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

movementiseternal
Jan 27, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
reset
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2015
Hello science. This is math calling. I just wanted to let you know that despite what you think reality is based on your experiments and verified observations, I have just done an equation which completely discounts that data. Turns out everything that matters is invisible, there's just so much of it we can't find it, it works in conjuction with energy that is so powerful it can move galaxies but we cant detect it, and everything you see orbits invisble objects of infinite gravity and is kept from falling in by the invisible matter we can't detect. Sorry science...this is just how it is.

Hello math. Can you verify any of that?
Hello...?
Math?
You there?

Probably throwing up in the can.

movementiseternal
Jan 27, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Tuxford
1 / 5 (4) Jan 27, 2015
In 2011, I speculated that this type of observation would prove interesting, and requested such in my comment.

And would not decelerated growth of the core star be expected from accretion mechanisms, rather than the accelerating growth observed.

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

Tuxford
1 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2015
Again: In 2011, I speculated that this type of observation would prove interesting in my comment.

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

Already observed was that the core stars lead galactic growth.

http://phys.org/n...022.html

And the news that the core stars grow too fast for the galaxy is not new.

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

http://phys.org/n...ars.html

And would not decelerated growth of the core star be expected from accretion mechanisms, rather than the accelerating growth observed.

http://phys.org/n...ter.html

Since the grey-hole core star new matter production is likely related to the mass of the core star, being accelerated as it grows larger, ejecting more and more matter therefrom the larger it grows, it seems logical that the size of the core star must be accelerated in order to produce sufficient matter to fill the expanding galactic core space. Related via geometry.
rossim22
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 27, 2015
IMO, this article demonstrates the lack of falsifiability of blackhole theory. The blind adherence to the gravitational dogma is extremely frustrating. Hell, the most significant influences produced by blackholes are attributed to its magnetic field... why drag along the dead theory? Head back to the objective, face-value observations and let's do some science.

Blackholes are merely focuses of plasma, observed in the center of galaxies which rotate non-gravitationally (set aside ad hoc dark matter for now). They radiate in all wavelengths, possess an intrinsic redshift, and lie at the center of a pair of galactic magnetic arms. However, galaxies can exist without central blackholes, meaning that this phenomena is likely a product of Galaxy formation, not the source of power itself.

I can't wait until Rosetta sheds some light on unacknowledged electric fields in space having direct, significant roles in the structures and chemistry of our solar system.
Tuxford
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 27, 2015
... However, galaxies can exist without central blackholes, meaning that this phenomena is likely a product of Galaxy formation, not the source of power itself.


Not so fast Batman! Sneaky... Even Dwarfs can have Grey Holes, and are more common than thought.

http://phys.org/n...ack.html

"We've shown that even small galaxies can have massive black holes and that they may be more common than previously thought," said Amy Reines, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). "This is really exciting because these little galaxies hold the clues to the origin of the first 'seeds' of supermassive black holes in the early universe," she said. Reines and her colleagues presented their findings to the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Washington, DC.

bbbbwindows
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2015
Isn't it amusing that black holes have never been observed, never confirmed experimentally and defy confirmation? When did science become based on unproven theories? One wrong theory piled on top of another and the world just gets weirder and weirder. Same with neutron stars, dark energy, dark matter and nuclear fusion.
Truth is all of these inventions were created to mathematically justify gravity as the driving force in planet and star formation. It is not.
Plasma physicists have had it right all along . Electricity is the driving force for planet, star and galaxy formation. It is 10 to the 39th times more powerful than gravity. None of the above mentioned unprovable inventions are necessary with an "electric universe" model. Their theories can be supported in the lab and their observation agree with observed data.
The world becomes explainable and understandable. Until this model is accepted by the "establishment", science will continue to be mysterious fantasy.
bbbbwindows
1 / 5 (5) Jan 29, 2015
Once you read Donald Scott's, "The Electric Universe", the need to question when reading astronomy/cosmology literature will become overwhelming .
Until you read it you will be stuck in the failed theories of the 20th century and unable to enter the 21st century's Age of Electromagnetism in astronomy and cosmology.
Astronomers and cosmologists should be racing to study plasma physics and see how new data from advances in technology is decimating "established" theories and supporting models put forth by the Electric Universe.
Black holes and neutron stars will soon be as laughable as when we thought the world was flat. Same with the sun being a gas with nuclear fusion of hydrogen at it's core.
Knowing universe will require knowledge of plasma physics such as Birkedale currents.
Gravity is a remnant of the ashes left by astoundingly powerful electromagnetic events.
Vietvet
3.9 / 5 (7) Jan 29, 2015
@bbbbwindows

There is an award for the most delusional comments and right now you're tied with the other EU idiots. Keep it up, you just might win.
bbbbwindows
1 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2015
If you call experimentally confirmed observations delusional then yes, the EU community will win. Their logic and sound science will eventually overwhelm "established theories" that cannot be observed or experimentally confirmed. The EU theories are also being shown to have high predictive value as new technology provides current data. This is in stark contrast to established theories that are crumbling step by step as new information is obtained.
Keep clinging to theories that don't work and have no basis in reality. Math should be used to confirm observations, not create the reality that can't be seen or confirmed.
bbbbwindows
1 / 5 (4) Jan 29, 2015
Rossim......that is the first sane comment I have heard regarding the galactic centers (concentrations of plasma) that are referred to as black holes.
The same math that created the "black hole" also shows that black holes and the "big bang" are mutually exclusive. However, on they march........
casualjoe
not rated yet Jan 29, 2015
I come here to get away from the 'suspicious obfuscators' so I don't appreciate you coming up in here regurgitating Ben@so's paranoid bullshit. He is wrong and he's a liar and it makes me wanna troll his channel with scientific evidence and expose him, when I've got time.
reset
1 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2015
@bbbbwindows

There is an award for the most delusional comments and right now you're tied with the other EU idiots. Keep it up, you just might win.


When it is spelled out in plain english exactly what you need to believe in order to accept mainstream lunacy, comments like the one above are as valid as the theory.
Uncle Ira
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 29, 2015
@ no-reset-fate-Skippy. How you are today? I'm good, thanks. I finally get it what you are trying to tell us about the mainstream lunacy. You do not need to tell us that again non, because now I know that is all wrong.

Maybe you will help us get to the next stage and start working on teaching us the right theory? We got to have some kind of theory to talk about, when you going give us the right one so we can quit using the wrong one?

Thanks if you can help me move up. No thanks if you are just going to use the bad words on me like you do the Captain-Skippy.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.