Astronomers discover 'tiniest' galaxy that contains 'giant' black hole

Astronomers has recently found a smallest known galaxy that contains an enormous black hole.

ANI| Last Updated: Sep 18, 2014, 11:59 AM IST
Astronomers discover 'tiniest' galaxy that contains 'giant' black hole

Washington: Astronomers has recently found a smallest known galaxy that contains an enormous black hole.

The team discovered the supermassive black hole by observing M60-UCD1 with both the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini North 8-metre optical and infrared telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, USA.

New observations of the ultracompact dwarf galaxy M60-UCD1 have revealed a supermassive black hole at its heart, making this tiny galaxy the smallest ever found to host a supermassive black hole.

Lying about 50 million light-years away, M60-UCD1 is a tiny galaxy with a diameter of 300 light-years, just 1/500th of the diameter of the Milky Way. Despite its size it is pretty crowded, containing some 140 million stars. While this is characteristic of an ultracompact dwarf galaxy (UCD) like M60-UCD1, this particular UCD happens to be the densest ever seen.

Steffen Mieske of the European Southern Observatory in Chile that it has been known for some time that many UCDs are a bit of overweight and they just appear to be too heavy for the luminosity of their stars.

Now, by studying the movement of the stars within M60-UCD1, they have detected the effects of such a black hole at its centre and now they want to know how many more UCDs may harbour such extremely massive objects.

The supermassive black hole at the centre of M60-UCD1 makes up a huge 15 percent of the galaxy's total mass, and weighs five times that of the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

The study is published in the journal Nature.