Astronomy

A Captured Black Hole?

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Science  26 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6144, pp. 319-321
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6144.319-c

NGC 1277, a compact lenticular galaxy located in the Perseus Cluster, hosts a black hole 17 billion times as massive as the Sun. Most galaxies are thought to have a massive black hole at their centers, but it usually represents only 0.1% of the mass of the stellar bulge of the galaxy. The black hole in NGC 1277 accounts for 59% of the stellar bulge mass. Shields and Bonning propose that such an overweight black hole did not form in NGC 1277 but was instead captured from another, much larger galaxy, where ultra-massive black holes are more likely to form. They suggest that the black hole formed through the merger of two giant elliptical galaxies, each containing a massive black hole. The inspiral of the two black holes resulted in the ejection of the larger black hole produced by merger. The ejected black hole then wandered in the core of the cluster until it got captured by NGC 1277 during a chance encounter.

Astrophys. J. 772, L5 (2013).

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