Scientists Hunt For 2nd-Closest Supermassive Black Hole


In 2021, scientists proposed the existence of a supermassive black hole 3 million times the mass of the Sun at the focal point of the dwarf galaxy Leo I yet it has demonstrated difficulty to obtain imaging information. Presently, two astronomers have recommended a technique to see this black hole. According to astronomers, confirming the existence of the black hole named Leo I* could make for groundbreaking science.

According to Harvard and Smithsonian Community for Astrophysics, Leo I is a dwarf galaxy that is so devoid of gas that it can be described as a “fossil.” The existence of a black hole in its middle was proposed in 2021 when scientists noticed stars picking up speed as they moved toward the focal point of the galaxy. If confirmed, Leo I* would be the closest black hole to Earth after the one at the focal point of our galaxy.

Hunting the “Supermassive Black Hole”

A Black hole illustration

Black holes themselves are not visible through imaging techniques but rather they can be recognized in view of the environment around them if they are accumulating mass from their surroundings. Yet, since there isn’t a lot of gas in Leo I, this is especially difficult. In their review published in the diary Astrophysical Diary Letters, the astronomers have recommended a new strategy to verify the existence of the black hole.

“Black holes are exceptionally elusive objects, and sometimes they appreciate playing hide-and-look for with us. Light rays can’t get away from their occasion horizons, yet the environment around them can be extremely bright — if enough material falls into their gravitational well. In any case, if a black hole is not accreting mass, instead, it emits no light and becomes impossible to find with our telescopes,” said Fabio Pacucci, lead creator of the review, in a press explanation.

According to Pacucci, the limited quantity of mass lost from the stars that meander around the black hole could provide the accretion rate required to notice the massive cosmic article. Red giants, massive old stars in the late phase of their evolution, frequently have solid winds that convey a fraction of their mass outside the star. The researchers reasoned that there are an adequate number of red giants in the space around Leo I to make the black hole recognizable.


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