In DepthAstronomy

Middleweight black holes found at last

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Science  08 Jun 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6393, pp. 1057
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6393.1057

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Summary

How did giant black holes grow so big? Astronomers have long had evidence of baby black holes with masses of no more than tens of suns, and of million- or billion-solar-mass behemoths lurking at the centers of galaxies. But middle-size ones, weighing thousands or tens of thousands of suns, seemed to be missing. Their absence forced theorists to propose that supermassive black holes didn't grow gradually by slowly consuming matter, but somehow emerged as ready-made giants. Now, astronomers appear to have located some missing middleweights. An international team has scoured an archive of galaxy spectra and found more than 300 small galaxies that have the signature of intermediate mass black holes in their cores, opening new questions for theorists.