Feeds

Astronomers sniff intermediate mass black hole

X-rays point to 500 solar mass 'middleweight'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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). ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.