An international astronomical research team published a report saying that they observed the radiation emitted by a star as it was torn apart and swallowed by a black hole, and deduced that the mass of the black hole was at a medium level. This is the strongest evidence yet for the existence of intermediate mass black holes.
The black holes previously discovered by scientists are at two extremes, either stellar-mass black holes with a mass several to dozens of times that of the sun; or supermassive black holes with a mass of millions or even billions of times that of the sun. Intermediate-mass black holes in between are hard to find, and observational evidence is sparse and unreliable.
A research team composed of the University of New Hampshire in the United States and European colleagues published a paper in the British magazine “Nature Astronomy” saying that they integrated observation data from multiple astronomical telescopes and analyzed the process of a star’s radiation suddenly increasing, and found that it is consistent with ” Characteristics of a tidal tearing event.
If the star is too close to the black hole, it will be torn apart by the tidal effect caused by the black hole’s gravity. Part of the material will be thrown out at high speed, and the remaining material will fall into the black hole along the spiral orbit. This phenomenon is called a tidal tearing event. The type of radiation, energy distribution, and change patterns emitted by such events have unique properties. They are the “death cry” emitted by stars when they are torn apart by black holes.
Researchers say that intermediate-mass black holes are generally thought to be “quiet” and the tidal tearing events they cause are very rare and extremely difficult to observe. The new discovery means there may be many intermediate-mass black holes around galaxies, consistent with existing theories of galaxy formation.
Stellar-mass black holes are formed after stars age and die. The origin of supermassive black holes is still unclear. Some people believe that they are formed by the accumulation of intermediate-mass black holes. Searching for intermediate-mass black holes can help reveal the origin of supermassive black holes and better understand the evolution of the universe.