Astronomers black holes theory: Researchers have discovered 26 possible black holes in Andromeda.
A galaxy near our own, which is the largest number of black hole candidates ever found outside our own Milky Way galaxy.
However, according to Robin Barnard of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it’s probably easier for Earth-based scientists to find black holes outside our own galaxy in Andromeda simply because of its relative proximity to us.
Scientists had previously observed nine other possible black holes in Andromeda , bringing it to a total of 35 black hole candidates. The research is published in The Astrophysical Journal.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory made over 150 observations during the course of a 13 year period to identify these black hole candidates.
Though black holes cannot be seen directly, astronomers can detect material falling into them when they interfere with other stars.
A black hole is a region of extreme density in outer space that has collapsed in on itself in such a way that nothing can escape it, not even light, because of the strong gravitational pull.
When a black hole and a star orbit each other closely, material from the star falls into the black hole and “as it spirals in, it gets hotter and hotter, and faster and faster, and eventually it gives off X-rays, so we see lots and lots of X-rays coming out of it,” Barnard said.
The material that has been swallowed up gets incredibly hot, up to about 10 billion degrees, releasing a tremendous amount of energy. Some of the brightest objects in the universe are believed to be black holes.
Scientists have difficulty distinguishing distant black holes from neutron stars, however.
When a star explodes in a supernova, its fiery death leaves behind either a neutron star or a black hole, which is a more extreme version of a neutron star.
Black hole theory of the kind that scientists may have observed in Andromeda have masses that are usually five to 10 times that of the sun.
Neutron stars have a surface, so falling material pounds onto it, Barnard said. Material rains down at enormous speeds, causing huge explosions and energy emissions.
Billions of years from now, scientists believe the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies will collide, marking the end of the galaxy as we know it. Black hole theory Image/CNN