The most common types of black holes are either small or supermassive, whose existence is relatively easy to prove. However, there is a middle ground as well, including the strange intermediate-mass formations. Researchers have highly debated their existence, but they might have finally found proof these rare black holes exist.
Are there black holes of intermediate size?
Intermediate-mass black holes are not so common in the universe, so researchers had a hard time detecting their presence. Therefore, many of them actually doubted their existence, since there was basically no proof in their favor. However, researchers from the Space Science Center at the University of New Hampshire stumbled upon that long-awaited proof.
Rare black holes really exist, as researchers spotted one such intermediate-mass object while devouring a star. This was the first event caught right at the optimal moment and with the proper equipment. All these factors allowed researchers to measure the mass of the black hole and record the parameters of the event.
Rare black holes do exist and they eat stars
By using satellite monitoring, they observed one of the rare black holes eating the star. They first noticed radiation coming from a faraway galaxy and observed how its flare faded over time. This fading looked as if a black hole was devouring a star. The observations showed the star was annihilated in 2003 and released its radiation for the next ten years.
This radiation flare was extremely important in the study. Usually, this type of energy can tell a lot about the black hole devouring the star. After comparing the observations, they noticed they matched neither small black holes nor supermassive formations. Thus, they could confirm rare black holes of intermediate size actually exist.
To get all the data, researchers used three different telescopes with X-ray imaging. This equipment could measure the wavelength of the radiation that helped them identify the actual size of the black hole. The study on this interesting formation was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Image source: NASA