Scientists have discovered a huge black hole at the center of a tiny galaxy. This is a very rare find as it has been located in a very ultracompact dwarf galaxy. This discovery has stunned researchers.
The galaxy in which the black hole has been found, Fornax UCD3 is part of a set called ultracompact dwarfs (UCDs). This is a very rare set of galaxies.
Anton Afanasiev, the lead author of the study said in a statement that they have discovered a supermassive black hole in the center of Fornax UCD3. The black hole mass is 3.5 million times that of the sun. This is similar to the central black hole in our own Milky Way. Ultracompact dwarfs are very rare. They are brighter, larger and more massive than other galaxies. They are larger than our own Milky Way.
What makes the discovery of this black hole at the center of the UCD so notable is that UCDs tend to be very small. They have radiuses not more than 300 light years and an overall mass of several tens of millions of solar masses.
The study’s abstract reads , “ UCD3 like other known UCDs that harbor black holes, hosts metal-rich stars which are enhanced in α-elements that support the tidal stripping of a massive progenitor as its likely formation scenario”.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across or a radius of 50,000 light years in comparison.
The findings have been made with data collected from SINFONI. It is an “infrared integral field spectrograph installed at one of the 8-m VLT telescopes in Chile. It is operated by the European Southern Observatory,” said the statement.
What makes it a more astonishing discovery is that the mass of the supermassive black hole is approximately 3.5 million times our sun at its center. This is approximately the same size of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole found in the Milky Way.
This supermassive black hole is only the fourth one found inside a UCD till now. It accounts for approximately 3 percent of the total mass of the Fornax UCD3 galaxy at its mass.
In other galaxies, which can be said categorized as rather more normal galaxies, a supermassive black hole accounts for approximately only 0.3 percent of a galaxy’s total mass.
The scientists must get credit for their efforts to find such a unique black hole. This being only the fourth one of it’s kind, must not had been easy to discover.