The Hubble Space Telescope Discovered a Missing Link Black Hole

Astronomers have been studying the way in which the supermassive black holes and smaller black holes form from massive stars that implode. However, they have been searching for intermediate-mass black holes for many years. Hubble Space Telescope astronomers recently found the missing link that is needed to understand how black holes evolve. They confirmed their observations of the presence of an intermediate-mass black hole, also referred to as IMBH, inside a dense cluster of stars.

Some New Information on the Black Hole

biggest black hole ever found
The Hubble Space Telescope Discovered a Missing Link Black Hole

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s X-ray multi-mirror mission were responsible for previous observations. Hubble Space Telescope was set to follow up on these observations. Both of the X-ray missions were launched in 1999 and had been providing observations of space ever since then.

The first X-ray flares were detected in 2006, which is what signified a black hole. However, astronomers weren’t able to tell if the signal came from within or outside of our galaxy.

The signal was named 3XMM J215022.4−055108, and after ruling out the location in our galaxy and the possibility of it being a neutron star, astronomers turned to Hubble for help. With Hubble on their side, they were able to get images that revealed where the signal was coming from. In this case, they were coming from a distant cluster of stars on the edge of a different galaxy.

Confirming Their Findings

black hole in interstellar
The Hubble Space Telescope Discovered a Missing Link Black Hole

A few other potential mid-range black holes have been found in the past. They’re typically hard to detect because they’re smaller than the supermassive black holes that are located in the center of more massive galaxies.

There is more research that is required to determine if supermassive black holes can evolve as well as grow from intermediate-mass black holes. Some future research can also show whether they favor star clusters.