Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers have discovered an unprecedented bonanza of black holes in the Andromeda Galaxy, one of the nearest galaxies to the Milky Way.
Using more than 150 Chandra observations, spread over 13 years, researchers identified 26 black hole candidates, the largest number to date, in a galaxy outside our own. Many consider Andromeda to be a sister galaxy to the Milky Way. The two ultimately will collide, several billion years from now.
“While we are excited to find so many black holes in Andromeda, we think it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Robin Barnard of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass., and lead author of a new paper describing these results. “Most black holes won’t have close companions and will be invisible to us.”
The black hole candidates belong to the stellar mass category, meaning they formed in the death…
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