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Space & Astronomy

10,000 black holes found at center of Milky Way

By T.K. Randall
April 4, 2018 · Comment icon 11 comments

Black holes are surprisingly common. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes
Scientists have discovered an astonishing number of massive black holes hiding within our own galaxy.
The existence of these black holes, which surround the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, had long been suspected, however nobody had been able to prove it until now.

The problem is that, by their very nature, isolated black holes are extremely difficult to see.

To find them, physicists focused their efforts on searching for the X-ray emissions of a particular subgroup of low-mass black holes that have a captured star in orbit around them.
By analyzing this data, it was then possible to infer how many isolated black holes exist in the region.

"This finding confirms a major theory and the implications are many," said astrophysicist Dr Chuck Hailey from Columbia University.

"It is going to significantly advance gravitational wave research because knowing the number of black holes in the center of a typical galaxy can help in better predicting how many gravitational wave events may be associated with them."

"All the information astrophysicists need is at the center of the galaxy."

Source: Independent | Comments (11)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
What do you think seems wrong?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Not A Rockstar 6 years ago
Keep in mind I don't know a lot about astro-physics, just this doesn't fit with what concepts I had about them. Not saying they are wrong, just I want to know more as they sort this out. I kind of had this model in my head that each galaxy had one or two in their core, not a number like this. It kind of blows the mind is all. I wonder now if maybe galaxies have a lot like this until as it ages, they combine as they go and maybe in older galaxies there are fewer due to that. I mean, with sun dying all the time, some are going to become black holes, so it makes sense, but ... idk. 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
With hundreds of billions of stars in a galaxy the size of ours 10,000 is actually a rather small number. Also remember that the centre of a galaxy such as the milky way is far more densely populated with stars (and therefore black holes) than the outer reaches where we reside.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hankenhunter 6 years ago
It makes me wonder if each Galaxy is destined to become one giant black hole from all these holes eventually merging. Hank
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Black holes have been portrayed as if they are some sort of cosmic vacuum cleaners, sucking in anything and everything. That's not really true. A black hole the mass of the sun would only have the same gravitational pull as the sun. A planet like earth could orbit 93 million miles away and never get sucked in. It is only as you approach closely to a black hole that the gravity well starts to become massive. Even though there are massive black holes at the centre of galaxies only stars that wander too close will get sucked in. Stars away from the centre will always remain safe. Also one of Step... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Not A Rockstar 6 years ago
yeah and The End is when they all merge :)... then Big Bang somewhere else lol
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 6 years ago
Except, as the universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, they won't all merge.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Not A Rockstar 6 years ago
ah see, Not A Rockstar's universal boomerang theory would kick in and there you go . Seriously now, in theory in the very end of all ends, we will end with a vastness full of nothing but maybe dark matter? 
Comment icon #10 Posted by XenoFish 6 years ago
I'm gonna guess the universe will be a pitch black version of the dust monsters under your couch. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by pallidin 6 years ago
That is an interesting finding. I had no idea that so many are in our galaxy.


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