Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Black Hole "Missing Link"

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Black Hole "Missing Link"

Article excerpt

Scientists at Durham University have found the "missing link" between small and super-massive black holes. For the first time, the researchers have discovered that a strong x-ray pulse is emitting from a giant black hole in a galaxy 500 million light years from Earth. The pulse has been created by gas being sucked by gravity onto the black hole at the center of the REJ1034+396 galaxy.

X-ray pulses are common among smaller black holes, but the Durham research is the first to identify this activity in a super-massive black hole. Most galaxies, including the Milky Way, are believed to contain supermassive black holes at their centers.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Nature, say their discovery will increase the understanding of how gas behaves before falling onto a black hole as it feeds and develops.

Astronomers have been studying black holes for decades and are able to "see" them due to the fact that gas gets extremely hot and emits x-rays before it is swallowed completely and lost forever. …

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