A new discovery has been made by scientists: a supermassive black hole in the center of a dwarf galaxy, Fornax UCD3, which is part of a type of galaxies that are considered the densest stellar systems in the Universe. Anton Afanasiev, who is the lead author of the study and also a student of the Faculty of Physics, MSU, mentioned that the mass of the black hole is 3.5 million times bigger than that of Sun, which makes it similar to the one in our Milky Way. As a comparison, the radius of such an ultra-compact dwarf galaxy is not bigger than 300 light years, whereas our Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across.
The discovery of the dwarf galaxy’s black hole
The data gathered by the scientists was collected with an infrared integral field spectrograph known under the name of SINFONI, from Chile. It is operated by the European Southern Observatory. Once the authors of the study analyzed the data, they found that the velocity dispersion in the center of the galaxy is extremely high, which lead to the conclusion that a massive black hole lies at its center.
A hypothesis that depends on more black holes being discovered
The black hole of this dwarf galaxy is the fourth to have ever been discovered in UCDs and its mass amounts to 4% of the total mass of the galaxy, which is a high ratio when taking into consideration the fact that in common galaxies, the percentage is much lower, approximately 0.3%.
Also, the existence of the huge black holes in UCDs seems to be a powerful evidence for the tidal origins of these ultra-compact dwarf galaxies. The main author of the study mentioned that more supermassive black holes need to be discovered so that scientists can be completely sure of this hypothesis.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.