Black holes absorb stars much faster than scientists thought. This discovery should help astronomers understand a group of strange, super-bright objects of deep space.
The discovery helps to shed light on the origin of the so-called ultra-bright x-ray sources and to understand that black holes can grow faster than previously thought.
In the late 1970s, astronomers discovered sources of unusually bright X-rays glowing in deep space. These were inexplicable ultra-bright x-ray sources. Scientists believed that black holes feed on this substance, and the emitted light around them is formed when a black hole tears this substance apart.
Most black holes are formed after the death of giant stars. The mass of such black holes exceeds the mass of the Sun hundreds of times. In addition, there are supermassive black holes, the mass of which is billions of times greater than the mass of the Sun and which are hidden in the centers of galaxies.
Ultrabright X-ray sources have a brightness between the black hole and the supermassive black hole. Thus, the researchers suggested that these ultra-bright X-ray sources have an intermediate mass of black holes, which is a thousand times larger than the mass of the Sun. However, at present, scientists have determined that one such ultra-bright X-ray source has a mass of not more than 15 solar masses.
“Black holes with relatively modest masses can have tremendous X-ray luminosity,” says study lead author Christian Motch, from the University of Strasbourg in France.
This hypothesis is confirmed by the P13 black hole, located on the edge of the spiral galaxy NGC 7793 close to us, at a distance of about 12 million light years from Earth. This black hole, an ultrabright X-ray source in the galaxy, was discovered more than 30 years ago using the Einstein NASA X-ray telescope.
This black hole has a companion star, which is a blue supergiant with a mass of 18 to 23 times the mass of the sun. Gas, which is literally sucked by a black hole from this star, makes P13 a million times brighter than the sun.