Paper on Astronomy

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Astronomy




ASTRONOMY

"A New Black Hole"

"Scientific American"

September 13, 2000





Evidence that the heavens house a previously unknown type of black hole was reported by
scientists yesterday. Data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory revealed a hole was some
600 light-years from the center of the starburst galaxy M82. The brightness of the x-ray
source indicates that this moon-size hole has the mass of at least 500 suns, making it
intermediate between stellar black holes and the supermassive black holes found at the
centers of galaxies. "This opens a whole new field of research," said Martin Ward, a lead
author on one of three papers to be published on the subject. "No one was sure that such
black holes existed, especially outside the centers of galaxies."


Earlier data from the Roentgen Satellite and the Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and
Astrophysics had suggested that M82 might contain a large black hole outside its nucleus,
but the Chandra results seal the deal. The new object might have resulted from the
collapse of a "hyperstar" or the growth of a smaller black hole through mergers with
others nearby. --Kate Wong


Summary

A new unknown type of black hole was discovered on September 12, 2000. It was found to be
600 light-years of the Starburst Galaxy M82. An x-ray source indicates that the moon-size
black hole has the mass of at least 500 suns, "making it intermediate between stellar
black holes and the supermassive black holes found at the center of galaxies" (Scientific
America, 1). Scientists were shocked at this discovery, for they didn't know that these
types of black holes existed. Scientists believe this black hole may have been due to a
collapsed "hyperstar" or the growth of a smaller black hole through mergers with others
nearby.

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