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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rarely Seen Pair of Black Holes Discovered, One Unlike The Other

An image of the galaxy SDSS J1126+2944 taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The X-ray observations, shown in purple, reveal the locations of two black holes, which were brought together by a merger of two galaxies. The arrow points to the black hole biggest loser, which lost most of the weight of the stars that surrounded it. These stars were stripped away by extreme gravitational forces during the merger of the two galaxies. (Image credit: University of Colorado Boulder)

An image of the galaxy SDSS J1126+2944 taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The X-ray observations, shown in purple, reveal the locations of two black holes, which were brought together by a merger of two galaxies. The arrow points to the black hole biggest loser, which lost most of the weight of the stars that surrounded it. These stars were stripped away by extreme gravitational forces during the merger of the two galaxies. (Image credit: University of Colorado Boulder)

Scientists found a galaxy with an unusual phenomenon: two black holes, one surrounded by stars as is usually found, the other without stars around it.

Astrophysicist Julie Comerford of the University of Colorado Boulder and her colleagues discovered this rare black hole known as an intermediate-mass black hole. She presented her findings this week at the American Astronomical Society and tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about her findings.

Guest

  • Julie Comerford, astrophysicist at the University of Colorado Boulder and lead author of study on intermediate-mass black hole published in Astrophysical Journal.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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