Black Holes in the Center of Galaxies are More Common Than We Thought

Image (Credit): An artist’s drawing a stellar black hole named Cygnus X-1. (NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

We already knew a supermassive black hole sits at the center of our galaxy and others like it, but what about dwarf galaxies? SciTechDaily reports that astronomers in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of Physics & Astronomy have found that large black holes are also more common than previously thought in dwarf galaxies.

The astronomers developed a new way to identify such black holes and found that about 80 percent of all black holes found in dwarf galaxies could be found in this way. These smaller black holes may help to create the supermassive black holes we see in larger galaxies as the dwarf galaxies collide and combine to make the larger galaxies.

Professor Sheila Kannappan, Polimera’s Ph.D. advisor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and coauthor of the study, stated:

We’re still pinching ourselves…We’re excited to pursue a zillion follow-up ideas. The black holes we’ve found are the basic building blocks of supermassive black holes like the one in our own Milky Way. There’s so much we want to learn about them.

While even Albert Einstein had doubts that his theoretical black hole could exist in reality, astronomers continue to find they are a larger part of the universe than anyone expected. When you consider smaller stellar black holes, the figure is enormous. As NASA noted:

Judging from the number of stars large enough to produce such black holes, however, scientists estimate that there are as many as ten million to a billion such black holes in the Milky Way alone.