Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered what they believe to be some of the greatest evidence yet for the presence of a rare type of “intermediate-sized” black hole lurking in the heart of the nearest globular star cluster to Earth, about 6,000 light-years distant.

What are the formation, distribution, and rarity of intermediate-mass black holes?

Almost all black holes appear to come in two sizes, similar to strong gravitational pits in the fabric of space: small and gargantuan. Our galaxy is thought to be strewn with 100 million tiny black holes (many times the mass of our Sun) formed by exploding stars. The cosmos is teeming with supermassive black holes, which are situated in the centers of galaxies and weigh millions or billions of times the mass of our Sun.

An intermediate-mass black hole, weighing between 100 and 100,000 solar masses, is a long-sought missing link.

How would they form, where would they congregate, and why do they appear to be so uncommon?

Using a variety of observational approaches, astronomers have detected more probable intermediate-sized black holes. Three of the finest possibilities — 3XMM J215022.4055108, discovered by Hubble in 2020, and HLX-1, discovered in 2009 — live in dense star clusters on the edges of neighboring galaxies. Each of these hypothetical black holes has tens of thousands of suns in mass and may have formerly resided in the centers of dwarf galaxies. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has also aided in the discovery of numerous probable intermediate black holes, including a large sample in 2018.

Much closer to home, a number of probable intermediate-sized black holes have been discovered in dense globular star clusters around our Milky Way galaxy. For example, Hubble researchers reported the possible presence of an intermediate-mass black hole in the globular cluster Omega Centauri in 2008. These and other intermediate-mass black hole discoveries remain inconclusive and do not rule out alternate hypotheses for a variety of reasons, including the need for further data.

Eduardo Vitral:

Hubble’s unique capabilities have now been utilized to hone in on the core of the globular star cluster Messier 4 (M4), allowing for more precise black-hole hunting than prior efforts. “You can’t do this kind of science without Hubble,” said Eduardo Vitral, lead author of an article to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

What Vitral’s team discovered and what was its significance?

Vitral’s team discovered a probable 800 solar-mass intermediate-sized black hole. Although the alleged object cannot be seen, its mass can be determined by observing the motion of stars caught in its gravitational field, similar to bees swarming around a hive. Measuring their movement needs time and precision. This is where Hubble achieves something that no other modern telescope can. Astronomers examined 12 years of Hubble M4 data and resolved pinpoint stars.

His team believes the black hole in M4 could be 800 times the mass of our Sun. Alternative possibilities for this object, such as a compact center cluster of unresolved stellar remains like neutron stars or smaller black holes revolving around one other, are ruled out by Hubble’s observations.

Eduardo Vitral:

“We are confident that we have a very small region with a large concentration of mass.” “It’s about three times smaller than the densest dark mass we’ve found in other globular clusters,” Vitral added. “When we consider a collection of black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs segregated at the cluster’s center, the region is more compact than what we can reproduce with numerical simulations.” They are not capable of forming such a dense concentration of mass.”

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris

What is the nature of the central mass in the globular cluster and its impact on stellar motions?

A collection of closely packed objects would be dynamically unstable. If the object isn’t a single intermediate-sized black hole, the observed stellar motions would require an estimated 40 smaller black holes squeezed into an area only one-tenth of a light-year across. As a result, they would merge and/or be expelled in an interplanetary pinball game. “We measure the motions and positions of stars and apply physical models to try to reproduce these motions.”

“We end up with a measurement of a dark mass extension in the center of the cluster,” Vitral explained. “The stars move more randomly as they get closer to the central mass.” And, as the center mass increases, so do the stellar velocities.”

Because intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters have been so difficult to find, Vitral warns, “While we cannot completely confirm that it is a central point of gravity, we can show that it is very small.” It’s too little for us to explain anything other than a solitary black hole. Alternatively, there could be a stellar mechanism that we are simply unaware of, at least in terms of present physics.”


In the center of this photograph taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope lies a massive galaxy cluster.  This huge cosmic creature can be detected by looking at the ripples it creates in spacetime. It’s like a sea monster swimming beneath the surface of the ocean. The cluster is so big that it bends the light from faraway galaxies, making them look different. This image shows twisted lines and curves of light. The cluster is surrounded by many other galaxies, and there are a few stars in the foreground that have diffraction spikes.

galaxy cluster
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. Ebeling

What is the significance of eMACS J1823.1+7822?

The galaxy cluster eMACS J1823.1+7822 is located in the Draco constellation and is almost nine billion light-years away. Hubble studied five really big galaxy clusters to measure how strong their gravitational lenses are. This helps us understand where dark matter is in these clusters. 

How can gravitational lenses help astronomers study faraway galaxies?

Gravitational lenses, such as eMACS J1823.1+7822, can help astronomers study faraway galaxies. These lenses act like giant telescopes, making faint or distant objects appear bigger and clearer.

What instruments were used to capture the image of the galaxy cluster and how do they work?

This picture combines information from eight filters and two instruments: Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3. Both instruments can see space objects by using filters that capture specific wavelengths of light. This helps astronomers take pictures of objects at precise wavelengths. Astronomers use different types of observations to get a better understanding of an object’s structure, composition, and behavior. This helps them see more than what visible light alone can show.

Astronomers have published stunning photographs of the nearby star-forming area NGC 1333 taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in honor of the telescope’s 33rd birthday. These images demonstrate the telescope’s extraordinary capabilities. The Hubble 33rd anniversary images offer an incredible view of the cosmic womb where new stars form. The nebula is located in the Perseus molecular cloud, which is about 960 light-years away.

Hubble 33rd Anniversary Images
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI; Image Processing: Varun Bajaj (STScI), Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Jennifer Mack (STScI)

The ultraviolet and near-infrared imaging capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope reveal a vibrant picture of a bubbling pot of incandescent gasses and pitch-black dust being pushed and stirred by hundreds of newborn stars. Hubble’s limited view is because the star-forming firestorm is obscured by denser clouds of fine dust (basically soot) near the image’s bottom. The image’s blackness is not due to a lack of contrast but rather to dust particles.

Now we should be elaborating,

How Hubble’s Ultraviolet and Infrared Imaging Unveils the Inner Workings of Star-Forming Regions?

To take this image, Hubble images through the dust at the edge of a massive cloud of cold molecular hydrogen, the raw material for creating new stars and planets in the unrelenting grip of gravity. This picture illustrates how chaotic our cosmos can be and how star formation is difficult.

Strong stellar winds are ripping through a dusty veil, most likely coming from the blue star at the image’s top. Blue light from the stars is diffused by the tiny dust.

One may see a second, brighter, super-hot star farther down, beaming through hazy dust filaments like the Sun through a patchwork of clouds.  Dust is filtering starlight, enabling more of the red spectrum to pass through, giving a diagonal string of fainter companion stars a reddish appearance.

You may see a small window into the dark nebula at the bottom of the image. Hubble captures the crimson glow of ionized hydrogen. It’s like BOOM BOOM BOOM! So many fireworks all at the same time! Newly formed stars beyond the field of view are responsible for this phenomenon by sending out pencil-thin jets. These stars have tremendous magnetic fields that send out two parallel beams of hot gas into space, resembling a double lightsaber from science fiction movies, and circumstellar disks, which may one day form planetary systems. They use laser light shows to trace patterns onto the hydrogen cocoon, which they then sculpt. If a star has jets, it means that it has just been born.

Finally, we should be discussing,

Our Solar System’s Origins and Hubble’s Role in Astronomy:

4.6 billion years ago, our Sun and planets originated inside a dusty molecular cloud like the one depicted here. Our Sun did not begin in a vacuum; it was part of a mosh pit of frenetic star birth, maybe more powerful and massive than NGC 1333.

On April 25, 1990, astronauts on-board the Space Shuttle Discovery from NASA released Hubble into Earth orbit. The renowned telescope has made around 1.6 million observations of nearly 52,000 astronomical objects so far. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the Space Telescope Science Institute houses the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, which serves as a repository for a vast amount of astronomical data.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Someday, the three galaxies in the constellation Boötes will combine into a single, enormous, brilliant galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an incredible new image of galaxies collision course. It is rare for three galaxies to collide simultaneously, but this event is particularly notable for a different reason. All three galaxies which collide are actively generating new stars at the time of the event.

The Galaxies collision in the Boötes constellation results in one massive galaxy. At the same time, the gravitational interactions between the three galaxies will destroy the spiral structure the galaxies currently display.

SDSSCGB 10189:

These three galaxies, known as SDSSCGB 10189, appear so close together in the photograph that they might be merging. Galaxies’ original shapes have been warped further by the gas and dust that connects them. There is a lot of light coming from the three galaxies.

On the scene’s left side, there is a spiral galaxy that is not involved in the collision. This galaxy appears to be calmly watching the events unfold, much like a human who is “rubbernecking” a car crash on Earth.

Only 50,000 light-years separate the three massive star-forming galaxies that makeup SDSSCGB 10189. At first glance, this distance may appear to be quite large and relatively safe from a collision, but in a cosmological context, it is actually quite close. For instance, the distance between the sun and Andromeda, the galaxy closest to the Milky Way, is more than 2.5 million light-years.

Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) are the largest and most massive galaxies in the cosmos. The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image as part of an investigation into the birth of these galaxies

Barycentric Galactic Group (BCG):

In gas-rich galaxies collision and merge, a barycentric galactic Group (BCG) is created. Galactic clusters are massive structures made up of hundreds or thousands of galaxies. To understand the birth histories of these clusters, scientists can study the types of cluster galaxies that make them up. The complex structure of dark matter clumps and filaments connecting individual galaxies within a cluster is the “cosmic web.”. Scientists believe that BCGs, or Brightest Cluster Galaxies, may provide valuable insights into the history of the cosmic web.

The formation of BCGs and its implications for the evolution of the cosmos over the past 13.8 billion years remain contentious topics of discussion. Many astronomers believe these enormous, brilliant galaxies arose when the universe was only approximately 19% of its present age. Nonetheless, there are many who believe BCGs are still developing and changing in the present day.

If SDSSCGB 10189 does indeed combine, the birth of a BCG would provide much-needed insight into the formation timing of these enormous, brilliant galaxies.


Published by: Sky Headlines

This picture taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus. This is a massive region of ionized hydrogen gas that is forming stars. And is located 161,000 light-years away from Earth in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The region’s bright, new stars surround by turbulent clouds of gas and dust.

Hubble is familiar with the Tarantula Nebula. The star-forming region is the brightest in our galaxy. It is home to the most vibrant and massive stars known. It is an ideal laboratory for testing theories of star formation and evolution. Hubble has a wealth of images from this region. Recently, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope explored this region and discovered thousands of young stars that had never before been seen.

Two different observing proposals combined to create this new image. The first proposal aimed to examine the characteristics of dust particles in the thick clouds of darkness in this image of the Tarantula Nebula and in the space between stars. This hypothesis, dubbed Scylla by astronomers, explains how interstellar dust interacts with starlight in a variety of settings. It works in tandem with Ulysses, another Hubble program that characterizes stars. This image also contains data from an observing program that is studying star formation in early universe conditions and cataloging the stars of the Tarantula Nebula for future research with Webb.


Published by: Sky Headlines

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of stars lying in the Orion Nebula. A smaller companion star is in the upper side of this image. Moreover, the luminous variable star V 372 Orionis is the point of attention in this picture. Roughly 1,450 light-years from Earth Orion Nebula is a colossal region of star formation.

What is V 372 Orionis?

V 372 Orionis or Orion Variable is a certain type of variable star. Moreover, Orion variableshubble-telescope-captured-images-a-stellar-duo-in-orion-nebula are young stars who experience some tempestuous moods and growing pains. These stars are visible to astronomers as irregular variations in luminosity. Just as V 372 Orionis, Orion Variables has also some connections with diffuse nebulae. The variable gas and dust of the Orion Nebula fill in this image.

Which Hubble instruments took this picture?

This image also overlays data from advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3. Infrared and visible wavelengths were layered to show rich details of this corner of the Orion Nebula. In the form of diffraction spikes that surround the bright stars, Hubble left its slight signature on this astronomical portrait. When the starlight, interacts with the four vanes inside Hubble that support the telescope’s secondary mirror the four spikes around the brightest stars in this image form. Apart from that, NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has six-pointed diffraction spikes. This is because of Webb’s hexagonal mirror segments and 3-legged support structure for the secondary mirror.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Hubble telescope recently captured an image of a host of astronomical objects scattering in the universe. Galaxies ranging from stately spirals to fuzzy ellipticals scatter across the telescope image. While a smattering of bright foreground stars is closer to home. The small galaxy UGC 7983 sketchy shape appears as a hazy cloud of light visible in the middle of the image. In the constellation Virgo, around 30 million light-years from Earth, the small dwarf irregular galaxy UGC 7983 is located. Moreover, some researchers say that it is identical to the very earliest galaxies in the universe.

A relatively nearby astronomical interloper is also visible in the picture. Across the upper left-hand side of the image a minor asteroid in our own solar system streaks. Split by small gaps the asteroid’s trail is visible as four streaks of light. The four different exposures that were merged to make up this image are represented by these light streaks. Filter modifications inside the Hubble telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys between exposures can be seen in the tiny gaps between each observation.

In order to observe every known galaxy close to the Milky Way capturing an asteroid was a fortunate side effect of a larger effort. However, Of all the Milky Way’s near galactic neighbors, Hubble had imaged roughly 75%. A group of astronomers suggested using the gaps between longer Hubble observations to capture images of the remaining 25%. To fill gaps in the Hubble telescope observing schedule and in our knowledge of nearby galaxies, the project was an elegant and efficient way.


Published by: Sky Headlines