Hide and Seek can be a fun game, but imagine playing it with an invisible black hole that’s not where you expect it should be!
Astronomers are doing just that when looking for black holes in small dwarf galaxies. Dwarf galaxies are much smaller than normal galaxies. They are made up of just a few billion stars rather than hundreds of billions.
Larger galaxies are known to host a black hole in their centers. But this is not the case for 13 newly-discovered black holes in small dwarf galaxies that are more than 100 times less massive than our own Milky Way. A team of astronomers have discovered that these black holes are instead found wandering in the outskirts of their host dwarf galaxies.
Why? The scientists suggest this is because the galaxies have likely have merged with others earlier in their history.
Image credit: Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF
The supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, called Sagittarius A* is about 4.5 million times more massive than our Sun!