Hubble Finds Best Evidence for Elusive Mid-Sized Black Hole


March 31, 2020

Astronomers have found the best evidence for the perpetrator of a cosmic homicide: a black hole of an elusive class known as “intermediate-mass,” which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close.

Weighing in at about 50,000 times the mass of our Sun, the black hole is smaller than the supermassive black holes (at millions or billions of solar masses) that lie at the cores of large galaxies, but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of a massive star.

These so-called intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) are a long-sought “missing link” in black hole evolution. Though there have been a few other IMBH candidates, researchers consider these new observations the strongest evidence yet for mid-sized black holes in the universe.

It took the combined power of two X-ray observatories and the keen vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to nail down the cosmic beast.

Astronomers have found the best evidence for a black hole of an elusive class known as “intermediate-mass,” which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close. This exciting discovery opens the door to the possibility of many more lurking undetected in the dark, waiting to be given away by a star passing too close.

Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Download this video in HD formats from NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

“Intermediate-mass black holes are very elusive objects, and so it is critical to carefully consider and rule out alternative explanations for each candidate. That is what Hubble has allowed us to do for our candidate,” said Dacheng Lin of the University of New Hampshire, principal investigator of the study. The results are published on March 31, 2020, in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The story of the discovery reads like a Sherlock Holmes story, involving the meticulous step-by-step case-building necessary to catch the culprit.

Lin and his team used Hubble to follow up on leads from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s (the European Space Agency) X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton). In 2006 these satellites detected a powerful flare of X-rays, but they could not determine whether it originated from inside or outside of our galaxy. Researchers attributed it to a star being torn apart after coming too close to a gravitationally powerful compact object, like a black hole.

Surprisingly, the X-ray source, named 3XMM J215022.4−055108, was not located in a galaxy’s center, where massive black holes normally would reside. This raised hopes that an IMBH was the culprit, but first another possible source of the X-ray flare had to be ruled out: a neutron star in our own Milky Way galaxy, cooling off after being heated to a very high temperature. Neutron stars are the crushed remnants of an exploded star.

black-and-white image from Hubble showing location of black hole
This Hubble Space Telescope image identified the location of an intermediate-mass black hole, weighing 50,000 times the mass of our Sun (making it much smaller than supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies). The black hole, named 3XMM J215022.4−055108, is indicated by the white circle. The elusive type of black hole was first identified in a burst of telltale X-rays emitted by hot gas from a star as it was captured and destroyed by the black hole. Hubble was needed to pinpoint the black hole’s location in visible light. Hubble’s deep, high-resolution imaging shows that the black hole resides inside a dense cluster of stars that is far beyond our Milky Way galaxy. The star cluster is in the vicinity of the galaxy at the center of the image. Much smaller-looking background galaxies appear sprinkled around the image, including a face-on spiral just above the central foreground galaxy. This photo was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Credits: NASA, ESA and D. Lin (University of New Hampshire)

Hubble was pointed at the X-ray source to resolve its precise location. Deep, high-resolution imaging provides strong evidence that the X-rays emanated not from an isolated source in our galaxy, but instead in a distant, dense star cluster on the outskirts of another galaxy — just the type of place astronomers expected to find an IMBH. Previous Hubble research has shown that the mass of a black hole in the center of a galaxy is proportional to that host galaxy’s central bulge. In other words, the more massive the galaxy, the more massive its black hole. Therefore, the star cluster that is home to 3XMM J215022.4−055108 may be the stripped-down core of a lower-mass dwarf galaxy that has been gravitationally and tidally disrupted by its close interactions with its current larger galaxy host.

IMBHs have been particularly difficult to find because they are smaller and less active than supermassive black holes; they do not have readily available sources of fuel, nor as strong a gravitational pull to draw stars and other cosmic material which would produce telltale X-ray glows. Astronomers essentially have to catch an IMBH red-handed in the act of gobbling up a star. Lin and his colleagues combed through the XMM-Newton data archive, searching hundreds of thousands of observations to find one IMBH candidate.

The X-ray glow from the shredded star allowed astronomers to estimate the black hole’s mass of 50,000 solar masses. The mass of the IMBH was estimated based on both X-ray luminosity and the spectral shape. “This is much more reliable than using X-ray luminosity alone as typically done before for previous IMBH candidates,” said Lin. “The reason why we can use the spectral fits to estimate the IMBH mass for our object is that its spectral evolution showed that it has been in the thermal spectral state, a state commonly seen and well understood in accreting stellar-mass black holes.”

This object isn’t the first to be considered a likely candidate for an intermediate-mass black hole. In 2009 Hubble teamed up with NASA’s Swift observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton to identify what is interpreted as an IMBH, called HLX-1, located towards the edge of the galaxy ESO 243-49. It too is in the center of a young, massive cluster of blue stars that may be a stripped-down dwarf galaxy core. The X-rays come from a hot accretion disk around the black hole. “The main difference is that our object is tearing a star apart, providing strong evidence that it is a massive black hole, instead of a stellar-mass black hole as people often worry about for previous candidates including HLX-1,” Lin said.

Finding this IMBH opens the door to the possibility of many more lurking undetected in the dark, waiting to be given away by a star passing too close. Lin plans to continue his meticulous detective work, using the methods his team has proved successful. Many questions remain to be answered. Does a supermassive black hole grow from an IMBH? How do IMBHs themselves form? Are dense star clusters their favored home?

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

Banner image: This illustration depicts a cosmic homicide in action. A wayward star is being shredded by the intense gravitational pull of a black hole that contains tens of thousands of solar masses. The stellar remains are forming an accretion disk around the black hole. Flares of X-ray light from the super-heated gas disk alerted astronomers to the black hole’s location; otherwise it lurked unknown in the dark. The elusive object is classified as an intermediate mass black hole (IMBH), as it is much less massive than the monster black holes that dwell in the centers of galaxies. Therefore, IMBHs are mostly quiescent because they do not pull in as much material, and are hard to find. Hubble observations provide evidence that the IMBH dwells inside a dense star cluster. The cluster itself may be the stripped-down core of a dwarf galaxy. Credit: NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI)

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April 1, 2020 3:35 am

I went to NASA’s website, fascinating animation, but I have a tiny grain of suspicion in the back of my mind, that imagination may have run riot with the reality.

Reply to  Vuk
April 1, 2020 8:22 am

April 1, 2020 at 3:35 am

Trying to explain every possible anomaly in the of case observations, with the “holy grail” of black holes, is very very dubious.

Every time taking that path, further and further way moving from considering the possibility of trying a find out what this could be, further way moving from considering that the anomaly is due to bad or very bad estimations of cosmic distances.


April 1, 2020 4:50 am

It must have been some 35 years ago that the quip went around taht:
Man, black holes are out of sight.

Peta of Newark
April 1, 2020 6:04 am

Was it John Gribben (name & sp??) wrote books, usually of a scientific nature?
A bit like the guy(ess) who writes technical manuals & instruction books.

Easily 45 years back I read his book on Black Holes – they fascinated me.

But now, I have A Problem with Black Holes – especially I cannot see now how they even exist.

Simple innit, nothing travelling even at Light Speed (c) can escape – thus light and hence they are = black

BUT, Escape Velocity for an object (planet, star, galaxy whateevre) is also = Terminal Velocity *we oly need concern about speed here, direction is obvious enough)

Terminal Velocity being the speed you’d be going if you fell into The Object, classically starting from infinite distance away
Thus, if you, me anybody or thing fell into One Of These Things, we’d be, by definition, moving at Light Speed when we ‘hit the surface’ of it -landed basically.
For Earth that is 25,000mph and for El sol is about 93,000mph

Of course you don’t land on a Black hole, you cross the Event Horizon and are either lost from veiw or permanently frozen in space/time.
Not dissimilar to the fantastical Trapped Heat in the GHGE

And it is fantastical because NOTHING (of any mass) can actually travel at Light Speed – UNLESS it has used infinite energy to get there and by definition thus has infinite mass.

Now do you see the problem?

EVERYTHING that ever falls into an already existing Black Hole has to has infinite mass when it crosses the Event Horizon ‘at light speed’

Just everything, from a single proton to something as huge as Michael Mann’s brain & ego HAS to have infinite mass when if falls into the any Black Hole

How does that work………………………….

Apart from Tax Payer Dollars – everybody knows they are infinite.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 1, 2020 6:55 am

See Hawking radiation.

Curious George
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
April 1, 2020 7:31 am

No one has seen it yet.

Reply to  Curious George
April 1, 2020 9:12 am

It’s extraordinarily faint.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 1, 2020 10:59 am

Assuming that the laws of physics as we know them remain the same near an event horizon.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
April 1, 2020 12:50 pm

Tom in Florida
April 1, 2020 at 10:59 am

Assuming that the laws of physics as we know them remain the same near an event horizon.
The event horizon consist as copulated with a condition (black hole),
a condition which completely off the rule and free of known laws of physics…
where mass – space – time completely open ended, with no any control or regulation whatsoever by the known laws of physics.
Infinite variables in values… where you can fit entire solar systems or even galaxies, or any other thing there for that matter, if in need or under the pressure to square the equations and normalize any anomalies there, to ones liking…and desire.


Gary Pearse
April 1, 2020 7:38 am

So, is this a possible alternative “excess mass” to ‘Dark Matter’, i.e. trillions of hard to detect black holes speckling the galaxies? They are “intermediate masses, not small ones. Maybe, the excess mass problem is not the problem, but rather it is the complexity of the Three-Body type gravity problem writ large (the “n body problem).

Karl Fritiof Sundman showed in 1912 that although there was no unique solution, (i.e. there were an infinite number of possible solutions) that the the center of mass of the three bodies in any relative positions remained in place – conservation of momentum and all that.

What if there were an enormous number of these fairly large black holes distributed around the galaxies “…on the outskirts of (another) galaxy — just the type of place astronomers expected to find an IMBH”? And where would the center of mass be? Why, it would coincide with the huge black hole at the center of the galaxy!

Hmmm. How might we estimate the number of these intermediate black holes? Why, simply take the “excess mass” that gave rise to the dark matter theory and divide it by the mass of 50,000 Suns! The beautifully symmetric galaxies alone suggest a beautifully distributed phalanx of not only its stars, but such dark holes. This effect may make for at least a modestly more rigid pinwheel of the galaxy to be acceptable.

April 1, 2020 7:45 am

Super massive black holes combined with their dark matter halos are more likely to be standing gravitational waves that arose as inflation far exceeded the speed of light (gravity) within which galaxies then arose from seas of primordial particles captured in the resulting gravity wells. Looking for mid size black holes as a ‘missing link’ is grasping at straws to try and explain super massive black holes without acknowledging that the Universe hasn’t been around long enough for them to have grown from stellar size to the many millions or even billions of solar masses required to clump galaxies together from a mostly uniform sea of primordial particles containing tiny density variations that became galaxies. Either the 13.8 billion years that the Universe has been around is long enough to grow this mid size black hole candidate or the variability of primordial black holes includes ones this small. If this is within another galaxy then it’s the former, if it’s the central black hole of a small galaxy, then it’s the latter.

Stan Robertson
April 1, 2020 7:47 am

It would be worthwhile to revive the distinction between black hole candidates and black holes. Black hole candidates are objects such that, whatever their mass, might possibly be compact enough to fit inside the Schwarzschild radius for that mass. A true black hole would be an object known to be small enough to fit inside the event horizon at a Schwarzschild radius. Many black hole candidates have been found, but there has never been a confirmation of an event horizon.

The event horizon is a theoretical consequence of the Schwarzschild metric, which is now the accepted solution of Einstein’s gravitational field equations for the matter-free space-time external to a single central mass. There are other solutions, such as the Yilmaz exponential metric, that correctly encompass all of the same observational phenomena as the Schwarzschild metric but that do not possess event horizons. Until there is some evidence that would clearly favor the Schwarzschild metric, we should maintain the distinction between black hole candidates and actual black holes.

April 1, 2020 8:19 am

If your traveling at the speed of light, what do you see?

Reply to  Olen
April 1, 2020 10:53 am

Depends which way are you looking?

April 1, 2020 8:24 am

Thermal radiation emitted by a body at any temperature consists of a wide range of frequencies. The frequency distribution is given by Planck’s law of black-body radiation for an idealized emitter as shown in the diagram at top.

The dominant frequency (or color) range of the emitted radiation shifts to higher frequencies as the temperature of the emitter increases. For example, a red hot object radiates mainly in the long wavelengths (red and orange) of the visible band. If it is heated further, it also begins to emit discernible amounts of green and blue light, and the spread of frequencies in the entire visible range cause it to appear white to the human eye; it is white hot. Even at a white-hot temperature of 2000 K, 99% of the energy of the radiation is still in the infrared. This is determined by Wien’s displacement law. In the diagram the peak value for each curve moves to the left as the temperature increases.

This is a very interesting topic.

Reply to  Carla
April 1, 2020 9:23 am


No where near 99%, but still enough to be significant. Keep in mind that owing to E=hv, a 1u photon has half the energy of a 0.5u photon and that that the units of the Y axis in the radiation plots is a spectral density expressed in W/m^2 per unit wavelength. Many are confused by this which is why the IPCC prefers to express energy density per unit wavenumber as these are inversely proportional to wavelength which makes the plot look like there’s far more energy at longer wavelengths. Relative to Earth emissions, using wavenumbers exaggerates the emission power overlapping the primary CO2 absorption band.

Reed Coray
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 1, 2020 8:48 pm

Carla is partially correct. Although no universal definition of the IR band exists, a common definition of the IR band is for wavelengths from 0.7 microns to 1,000 microns (which corresponds to frequencies from 0.2998 terahertz to 428.2750 terahertz). Using this definition of the IR band, Carla is correct in that 99.22% of the radiation from a black body at a temperature of 2,000 Kelvin lies in the IR band.

In my opinion for two reasons, Carla is incorrect when she says the 99% value is determined by Wien’s displacement law. First, Wien’s displacement law identifies the peak wavelength/frequency, and as such does not determine the percentage of radiation in any finite, non-zero bandwidth–be it wavelength or frequency. Second, there are two Wien’s displacement laws–one for the peak wavelength and one for the peak frequency. Wien’s peak wavelength uses the “spectral radiance per unit wavelength;” Wien’s peak frequency uses the “spectral radiance per unit frequency”–see


For example, at a temperature of 5,778 Kelvin, the Wien’s peak wavelength falls in the IR band; whereas the Wien’s peak frequency does not–it lies in the visible band.

FYI. For electromagnetic radiation propagating through free space in an inertial reference frame, the product of the frequency of the radiation and the wavelength of the radiation is the speed of light in a vacuum. The product of “Wien’s law peak frequency” and “Wien’s law peak wavelength” is not equal to the speed of light in a vacuum.

Reed Coray
Reply to  Reed Coray
April 2, 2020 4:19 am

Oops. I have it backwards. At 5,778 Kelvin (a) the Wien peak wavelength is in the visible band, and (b) the Wien peak frequency is in the IR band.

Reply to  Reed Coray
April 11, 2020 8:07 am


The majority of the energy arriving from the Sun is in the form of photons whose wavelength is less than 0.7u, i.e. most of this energy is visible light and UV.

Half the energy is on either side of the center of the energy distribution, but this is neither Wien peak, but closer to the average of the Wien peak wavelength and the wavelength corresponding to the Wein peak frequency. This average is in the visible range, or more precisely, our eyes evolved to be most sensitive to this peak and why the visible range is centered on it. Note that this limits the IR component to less than 50%.

Presenting spectra based on energy density per unit frequency makes more of the energy appear like it’s at longer wavelengths, while the opposite is true for energy densities specified per unit wavelength. This is why the Wien peak wavelengths and frequencies are inconsistent relative to the speed of light and why alarmist papers prefer presenting this kind of data relative to the frequency (or wavenumber) over wavelength.

This is particularly pernicious when representing the spectrum of energy emitted by the surface, where frequency/wavnumber plots makes it look like the center of the surface emissions is near the largest CO2 absorption line, while a wavelngth presentation makes most of the energy look like it’s passing through the transparent window. Even more obfuscating is when frequency or wavelength is plotted linearly, rather than on a log scale which is more representative of the actual energy distribution.

Reply to  Carla
April 1, 2020 11:28 am

Carla here is a link you can use to find out how much energy is available in wave length ranges using a know start temperature.

Reed Coray
Reply to  mkelly
April 2, 2020 7:37 pm

Carla, using mkelly’s http reference above, you must drill down to the proper window. To drill down to that window (1) click on the “Heat and Thermodynamics” bubble, (2) click on the “Radiation” bubble, (3) near the bottom of that window you will see a box containing “Fraction of power in a wavelength range.” click on that box, (4) in the box entitled “For the wavelength range lambda1” enter the starting wavelength, and (5) in the box entitled “For the wavelength range lambda2” enter the ending wavelength. The answer will appear in the box labelled “This is ‘ box ‘ % of the total radiated power.”

Warning. Take this answer with a grain of salt. As explained in the window, an approximation of the % radiated power is computed. That approximation divides the wavelength interval into 100 equal width wavelength regions. The approximation is suspect if the width of the wavelength power density curve is a small fraction of the wavelength interval.

April 1, 2020 11:21 am

Post says”…but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of a massive star.”

This my problem with black holes. The star that formed the black hole was as massive or possibly more massive than the black hole it spawned. Why wasn’t the star a black hole if mass is what causes the all the problems black hole cause? Isn’t density the real issue if black holes exist?

Also a nit pick. Post says “Weighing in at…”.

April 1, 2020 12:06 pm

Can someone please explain black holes to me?

I can not understand how mass can get so dense that a black hole comes into existence, which then ‘consumes even more mass and makes even light unable to escape.

From the article: “stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of a massive star”
Could someone please explain this in 10(?) easy steps?

Reply to  Scarface
April 1, 2020 7:05 pm

ok, I’ll try:
1. Start with a star of a certain mass big enough to spawn a black hole. As the star burns out it starts to collapse. As it collapses, angular momentum is conserved and the big spin begins and energy is released.
2. As the star collapses, it hits the Schwarzschild radius where the event horizon exists.
3. At this point, nothing can stop the continuing collapse, and since even energy can’t escape the black hole. Increasing gravity will influence near bodies with the same gravitational force as the original star minus the loss of energy (mass) before the collapsing radius hits the event horizon.
4. As more mass gets drawn in, the black hole gets more massive and the gravitational force increases, drawing in more stuff.
5. Since angular momentum is conserved with masses dropping in the spin increases and flattens the disk even more.
6. Any orbiting bodies will eventually be sucked into their deaths, any body that crosses the event horizon is doomed.
At this point, the black hole is a mass murderer.

Reply to  rakman
April 2, 2020 10:20 am

Great explanation! Thank you very much!

Reply to  rakman
April 2, 2020 10:57 am

How in #3 is there increasing gravity? How in #4 is more mass drawn in since the original star didn’t draw in more mass.

Reply to  mkelly
April 2, 2020 12:47 pm

#3, there is always some comet or meteor falling into the event horizon. It would be a slow mass increase for a while, but hey, astronomical bodies have a lot of time.
#4. More mass means more gravity. More gravity will effect local bodies more. The event horizon will grow larger as more mass is consumed.

And yes, the stars furnace has to run out of fuel.

Reply to  Scarface
April 2, 2020 3:35 am

Fusion in the core prevents star collapsing to the point where the density creates the event horizon.

Super simple star life-cycle:

Starting from the beginning a small local concentration of matter produces a gravity well which causes more hydrogen and helium in the local region to fall into the concentrated region, further increasing the mass and hence the depth of the gravity well. The collapse also raises the heat of the gases some of which is radiated away allowing further collapse with further heat increase, particularly in the core, which is somewhat insulated by the outer layers of gas.

At some point, if the concentration of gas is large enough, there is enough heat created in the core for fusion to take place. This generates heat and prevents further collapse so even if there is enough mass for a stellar mass black hole to be formed, the mass is too diffuse for an event horizon to form.

Eventually, the core runs out of elements to fuse, either due to being to small for enough heat to fuse the remaining fusion products or the fusion creates creates iron so further fusion does not generated heat energy. The core then collapses generating a massive amount of heat and loads of other complex interactions depending on the mass of the star and the outer layers are blown away.

If the core was fairly small, brown dwarf will be left (basically a glowing ball of carbon). A larger core will collapse to form a neutron star/quasar. Even larger stars will have enough mass, compressed down far enough by the collapse, for an event horizon to form and there is your black hole.

Density, rather than pure mass is the key else you may as well ask why isn’t a galaxy a black hole or, indeed, the universe (although there is speculation that is what our universe is if it is closed).

Reply to  Analitik
April 2, 2020 10:27 am

Thank you very much! Very clarifying!

Tom Abbott
April 1, 2020 12:53 pm

“his exciting discovery opens the door to the possibility of many more lurking undetected in the dark, waiting to be given away by a star passing too close.”

Let’s hope it isn’t our star that has a close encounter.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 1, 2020 1:38 pm

While it is perfectly reasonable to raise the problem of finding what you are eagerly looking for, it is not this aspect of black holes as we all know and love them that troubles me.

All the descriptions, let alone illustrations, of black holes place emphasis on their having a flattened accretion disk into which matter is sucked and rotated around in ever decreasing circles before disappearing over the event horizon. It is this flattened saucer of matter that troubles me – how is an almost one dimensional structure created when black holes are (presumably) three dimensional spherical gravitational wells into which matter would be sucked in from any direction – accelerating at an ever greater rate which would require ever increasing force/energy to deflect their free path into another (accretion disc) orbit.

I’d be very interested if someone could explain to me where my thinking is wrong on this.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
April 1, 2020 3:35 pm

I should perhaps have more explicitly have stated the question of how a coherent accretion disk whirlpool like stream or path of matter can be maintained as a structure against the pull of the black hole.

I don’t personally doubt the existence of black holes, it is their description that I wonder about.

April 1, 2020 1:49 pm

‘…. consumes even more mass and makes even light unable to escape.”
Obviously you don’t appreciate the gravity of the situation that mass found itself in. 🙂

James F. Evans
April 1, 2020 2:52 pm

So-called “black holes” exist only in man’s imagination.

April 1, 2020 3:10 pm

Two questions:

Do we know how close the nearest black star is to earth, or is it a case of it not being discovered yet?

On a clear night here in country NSW Australia, the Milky Way is spectacular. We don’t however see the colour most often shown in photographs. Is that because we need special telescopic lenses?

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Megs
April 1, 2020 10:37 pm

Milky Way isn’t bright enough to activate the color perceiving cones inside the human eye. Only the rods are activated. The colors in the photographs are what we would see if the Milky Way was much brighter.

Gary Pearse
April 1, 2020 3:26 pm

“What if there were an enormous number of these fairly large black holes distributed around the galaxies “…on the outskirts of (another) galaxy — just the type of place astronomers expected to find an IMBH”?

Hmmm. How might we estimate the number of these intermediate black holes? Why, simply take the “excess mass” that gave rise to the dark matter theory and divide it by the mass of 50,000 Suns!”

Okay the mass of the milky way: 0.8 – 1.5×10^12 suns. 84% Dark Matter – lets take the overall mass to be the lower one, 8×10^11 suns and Dark Matter is then 6.7×10^11 suns. If all the D Matter is intermediate black holes (surely this is a type of D Matter by definition) then we would divide by 50 000 suns and we would have 13,000,000 moderate black holes in the M. Way.

So going further, actual stars make up only 5% of the mass of the milky way (using the lower estimate of total mass again), which is 40×10^9 suns (shining stars) and only13,000,000 intermediate black holes are sufficient to account for excess mass. That means such black hole objects number only 0.03% of the number of stars. With this theory everything balances including not the least aspect that intermediate black holes are properly still hard to find! I submit that this is the more elegant theory.

James F. Evans
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 1, 2020 9:26 pm

No, Mr. Pearse, it’s not an elegant theory.

A so-called “black hole”: near infinite density in a near infinite small space. That’s not a quantitative description because you can’t define “near infinite”.

What is it then?

At best a speculative assumption supported by more assumptions.

A word salad posing as a qualitative & quantitative description of an object.

Misleading and, thus, a barrier to human understanding of the cosmos.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  James F. Evans
April 2, 2020 4:57 pm

Thanks James, but I see why Willis insists we quote the part of an offering that we take issue with so we understand the criticism or comment.

I said absolutely nothing connected to the entire verbiage of your second paragraph (save for the two words black and holes) and the chain-of-words non sequitur that follows as a rebuttal(?) in the remainder of your comment is information free. Indeed all I recognized that signaled you were addressing me was my own name!

You appear not to have understood that I claimed elegance of my hypothesis over that of the Dark Matter hypothesis as an explanation of the “excess mass” that is deemed necessary to give evident structure and stability to galaxies. I at least have one data point – the discovery of a peripheral intermediate sized black hole – to the D.M. proponents’ zero’ data points.

You clearly are not a scientist (the language is a ‘tell’) and that’s okay. If you don’t get what I’m trying to say here, I’m happy to try to clarify. But, James, condescension is never a good first approach even if you were to have the requisite vantage point.

James F. Evans
Reply to  Gary Pearse
April 3, 2020 2:52 pm

No. Mr. Pearse, it’s not condescension, rather disagreement with the premise of your comment, which is that so-called “black holes” exist.

In my opinion, they exist only in your mind’s eye.

My prior comment, “A so-called “black hole”: near infinite density in a near infinite small space. That’s not a quantitative description because you can’t define “near infinite”.

The first part of my comment is a definition of a so-called “black hole”.

The second part of my comment is an argument for why “black holes” don’t exist. There is no mathematical support for the hypothesized object (not to mention physical observation and measurement).

To be clear, there are active galactic nucleus and non-active galactic nucleus, but they aren’t so-called “black holes”.

Nor are there free-floating “black holes” drifting through the cosmos or whatever this “mid-sized ‘black hole’ ” is supposed to be — There aren’t any “black holes.”

The supposed physical structure doesn’t exist as described by proponents of the idea. It is a failed idea that needs to be discarded into the rubbish bin of science.

The hypothesis I subscribe to is that active galactic nucleus and non-active galactic nucleus (the centers of galaxies) are electromagnetic plasmoids. What science observes via telescopes at the center of galaxies is consistent with what has been observed in laboratory experiments with plasma focus devices. The signatures of both are similar.

Electromagnetism is scalable to many orders of magnitude, which is why electromagnetic experiments in a laboratory can increase man’s understanding of the cosmos.

If, by your comment, you weren’t subscribing to the idea of “black holes” then I misunderstood and I apologize.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  James F. Evans
April 4, 2020 8:16 pm

J.E: I’m not an astrophysicist. For me the jury is still out on the subject of black holes. The jury is also still out on Dark Matter. Indeed it hasn’t been detected since given its name in 1933. However it was introduced speculatively because modern gravity was deficient in explaining the speed of motion of a galaxy’s outer stars. They should be flying off the ends of the spiral arms if gravity was the only thing holding them in empty space.

Okay, so Dark Matter is the prevailing theory, but it has to make up 84% of a galaxy’s mass to work!! Astros are also entertaining Dark Holes, and they seem to believe they’ve found an intermediate sized one, which for some theoretical reason was allegedly found in a peripheral area that they thought was just the sort of place it might be found and the mass estimate from the ultraviolet signal and other metrics was~50,000 suns.

We can both agree that its all very speculative (what isn’t in cosmology?). My point was, doing the simple math i could replace all of the ‘requisite’ DM with a mere 13 million intermediate black holes among 40 billion visible stars, only 0.03% of the number of stars! They lose one ugly pet theory and and retain one which was an orphan that now can have a life. The 1933 DM creators I’m sure would have been happier with this more elegant replacement.

Louis Hunt
April 1, 2020 5:56 pm

At about 2 minutes in, the video shows an artist’s rendition of a black hole, which appears much larger than the surrounding galaxies while it appears to travel through space at warp speed. It bends the light of galaxies in the background, making it look like it’s pushing stars and galaxies out of its way as it quickly moves along. Given that these objects are many, many light-years apart, how fast do they think this black hole is moving? No wonder people have distorted ideas about black holes.

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