GREENBELT, Maryland (CBS Tampa) – Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope and ground based observatories have found an unusual object in an unlikely place. It’s a super massive black hole…and it’s smack in the center of one of the smallest galaxies in the known universe, reports CNet.
The newly discovered black hole is five times as massive as the one that lurks in the center of our Milky Way, says the NASA study.
The host galaxy, with the decidedly non-celestial name of M60-UCD1, is one of the densest galaxies ever discovered. It crams 140 million stars inside a diameter of about 300 light years, about 1/500th of our galaxy’s diameter.
“That is pretty amazing, given that the Milky Way is 500 times larger and more than 1,000 times heavier than the dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1,” observed University of Utah astronomer Anil Seth, who is the lead author of the study.
If we lived inside the dwarf galaxy, we would see over a million stars in the night sky. By contrast, under perfect conditions we can only see about 4,000 stars with the naked eye from Earth.
The discovery suggests dwarf galaxies may be the remains of a much larger galaxy that survived a collision with a neighbor.
“We don’t know of any other way you could make a black hole so big in an object this small,”
The study is published in the journal Nature.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)