Feeds

Astronomers sniff intermediate mass black hole

X-rays point to 500 solar mass 'middleweight'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Astronomers from the University of Leicester and the CESR astrophysics lab in Toulouse reckon they've spotted an intermediate mass black hole - one of an elusive group of beasts weighing in between single star black holes and their supermassive cousins.

A team led by Sean Farrell was perusing X-ray sources dating back to 2000 when they spied an object in the galaxy ESO 243-49 emitting fluctuating X-rays "400 times as bright as the maximum value for a stellar black hole", as New Scientist explains.

Significantly, the X-ray emissions weren't from a galactic centre, where supermassive black holes commonly lurk, and the scientists ruled out a blazar galaxy - a type which also transmits fluctuating X-rays.

In this case, the "strong radio emissions" also associated with blazars were absent.

The astronomers also dismissed the possibility that the X-rays might come from a small black hole's jet which "could have made that object seem bigger if directly focused at Earth". The spectrum "did not suggest this", according to Farrell.

The team notes that "the existence of such intermediate-mass black holes is in dispute, and though many candidates have been proposed, none are widely accepted as definitive".

The team's claim for middleweight glory can be found in Nature (subscription required). ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.