A Recently Discovered Black Hole Is The Missing Link Between Two Different Types

Scientists have recently discovered a new black hole that is said to break a record not for being the smallest or the largest, but for being right in the middle between two known populations of black holes. The black hole recently discovered is part of the missing link between two known populations of black holes, small black holes made from stars and supermassive black holes in the center of most galaxies. The discovery was a joint effort between researchers from the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

The newly discovered black hole is approximately 55,000 times the sun's mass making it a so-called "intermediate-mass" black hole. Researchers on the project say the discovery shines a light on how supermassive black holes form. Scientists know supermassive black holes are in the core of most, if not all, galaxies, but they didn't understand how supermassive black holes grew so large within the age of the Universe. Scientists made their discovery using a gravitationally lensed gamma-ray burst.

The gamma-ray burst was a half-second flash of high-energy light emitted by a pair of merging stars that the observers noticed as an "echo." They say the echo was caused by the intervening intermediate-mass black hole, bending the light's path on its way to Earth, allowing astronomers to view the same flash twice. Using software developed to detect black holes from gravitational waves, the software was adapted to establish that the two flashes are images of the same object.

Scientists believe that the black hole could be a primordial black hole created in the early Universe before the first stars and galaxies formed. The early black holes could be the seeds that form supermassive black holes in the hearts of galaxies today. The new blackhole candidate allows scientists to estimate the total number of these objects in the universe. Researchers predicted that might be possible three decades ago and are excited to have discovered an example. New estimates are that 46,000 intermediate-mass black holes are in the vicinity of the Milky Way galaxy.