The black hole in the center of a dwarf galaxy is much smaller than we thought


Astronomers have discovered that the black hole mass in the center of the small galaxy NGC 4395 (pictured above) was only a 40th the researchers had predicted.

What they found: Located about 14 million light-years away from Earth, the black hole was only 10,000 times the mass of the sun, small in size compared to black holes and more than an order of magnitude lower to that of other previous estimates.

How did they discover: according to the paper published on Monday In Nature Astronomy, the research team was able to perform this measurement using a technique called "reverb mapping". This process observes the radiation that comes from the material collected by the attraction of the black hole, also known as the accretion disk. When the radiation is emitted, it continues to move outward until reaching a gaseous zone generating a flash. The time elapsed between the time it arrives in the region and the time when a flash is observed allows researchers to estimate the size of the black hole.

Why it's important: Astronomers are trying to measure smaller galaxies to better understand what happened during their training. "Do these galaxies have black holes, and if so, do they have the same scale as the supermassive black holes?" Said Elena Gallo, one of the authors of the document. "Answering these questions could help us understand the very mechanism by which these monster black holes were assembled when the Universe was in its infancy."


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