Monday, February 26

Hubble Finds Messier 4 Black Hole 6,000 Light Years Away

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have found solid evidence of rare class “intermediate-sized” black hole about 6,000 light years away from us.

The black hole is located in a globular star cluster in Messier 4 (M4). Although the object cannot be seen, it’s mass is possibly around 800 solar masses. This mass was calculated by studying the motion of stars caught near the black hole. Also, it’s important to note that astronomers looked at 12 years worth of Messier 4 data from Hubble.

Eduardo Virtal, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Balimore, Maryland, had this to say: “We have good confidence that we have a very tiny region with a lot of concentrated mass. It’s about three times smaller than the densest dark mass that we had found before in other globular clusters. The region is more compact than what we can reproduce with numerical simulations when we take into account a collection of black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs segregated at the cluster’s center. They are not able to form such a compact concentration of mass.”

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA