Astronomers seem to be in a race to discover the biggest black holes they can find. Most recently, a team of German astronomers claimed to have discovered a black hole 40 billion times the mass of the Sun.
But what if black holes with larger sizes are smaller?
In a study published today in the prestigious journal Science a team of astronomers at Ohio State University claim to have discovered an object belonging to a previously missing class of black holes.
"We show this hint that there is another population out there that is still to be explored in search of black holes," lead author Tod Thompson said in a statement.
If confirmed, current theories will have to take into account a new class of black hole ̵
Thompson and his team were puzzled by the huge gap between the size of the largest neutron stars – the extremely dense and relatively small stars that form after larger stars are thrown after the supernova – and the smallest black holes for we know.
The neutron stars are relatively small – tw o up to three times the mass of the Sun, but stars larger than these tend to collapse on themselves and form black holes.
Their smoking gun: a giant red star orbiting something that at first seemed too small to be a black hole in the Milky Way, but was much larger than the neutron stars we know of .
indeed turned out to be a black hole with a low mass and it was only 3.3 times larger than the mass of the Sun – usually the black holes we found in the past are at least five times larger than the mass of the Sun or much, much larger.
Discovery can redefine the way we look at the life cycle of a star.
"If we could uncover a new population of black holes, it would tell us more which stars explode, which ones don't, which ones form black holes that form neutron stars," Thompson said. "It opens a new field of study."
This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.