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Astronomers have detected several supermassive black holes wandering through their dwarf host galaxies, providing new clues about how similar black holes evolved in the early universe.
Using the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, the researchers identified 13 dwarf galaxies that are less than a billion light-years away from Earth and that host supermassive black holes. Astronomers estimate that these galaxies contain less than 1% of the mass of the Milky Way, making them the smallest galaxies known to host massive black holes, according to a statement.
Average - Holes - Times - Mass - Sun
On average, these supermassive black holes contain about 400,000 times the mass of the sun. And unlike most supermassive black holes that lurk near the center of their galaxy, about half of these objects were found wandering the outskirts instead.
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Galaxies - Holes - Universe - Mergers - Billions
"We hope that studying them and their galaxies will give us insights into how similar black holes in the early universe formed and then grew, through galactic mergers over billions of years, producing the supermassive black holes we see in larger galaxies today, with masses of many millions or billions of times that of the sun," Amy Reines, an astrophysicist at Montana State University and lead author on the new research, said in the statement.
The scientists used a galaxy catalog...
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