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A Tiny Galaxy Has an Unusually Large Black Hole And Scientists Aren’t Sure Why

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A Tiny Galaxy Has an Unusually Large Black Hole And Scientists Aren’t Sure Why

A tiny galaxy orbiting the Milky Way called Leo I could be harboring a huge secret.

According to a new analysis, the central region of Leo I has an absolutely monster supermassive black hole, compared to the mass of the galaxy. The galaxy itself is around 20 million times the mass of the Sun. The black hole is around 3.3 million solar masses – around 16 percent of the total mass of the galaxy.

Although there’s a large uncertainty margin, the result is still a huge surprise. That mass of 3.3 million solar masses is pretty danged close to the mass of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. Sgr A* is around 4 million solar masses – and recent calculations put the mass of the Milky Way at around 1.3 trillion solar masses.

That’s an absolutely gobsmacking difference in the mass ratios. The possible presence of such a large black hole in such a small galaxy is surprising since we thought we had some pretty reliable rules for the ratio of a central black hole to its galaxy. But, if verified, it could tell us something new about how galaxies, and the supermassive black holes at their centers, grow and evolve.

“A black hole mass this large in Leo I is significant in many respects,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

“It is the first detection of a black hole in a dwarf spheroidal galaxy using spatially resolved kinematics, it has a mass that is similar to the total stellar mass of the system, and it is a comparable mass to that of the black hole in the center of the Milky Way.”

There’s a whole swarm of dwarf galaxies in the space around the Milky Way (and around other galaxies, too), some that are in the process of colliding with and being absorbed by the other galaxy. This is thought to be an important means whereby galaxies grow larger gradually over time.

But not all dwarf galaxies are built alike, and studying them can help us understand galactic diversity, and how these objects form.

Leo I, located around 820,000 light-years from Earth, is one such potential outlier. Unlike most of the Milky Way satellites, it’s been found to have not much dark matter – the directly undetectable gravitational glue that binds the Universe.

Although we can’t probe dark matter directly, we can measure it based on the influence it has on things we can detect. Stars, for example, orbit their galaxies faster than they should if just the detectable matter was influencing them.

Astronomers at the University of Texas at Austin’s McDonald Observatory wanted to study Leo I’s dark matter profile, or the way the dark matter density changes from the center of the galaxy to its outskirts.

They took new observations of Leo I using the Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory, and then entered this data and sophisticated models of the galaxy into a supercomputer for analysis. And their results showed that a supermassive black hole should be lurking in the galactic center.

“The models are screaming that you need a black hole at the center; you don’t really need a lot of dark matter,” said astronomer Karl Gebhardt of UT Austin.

“You have a very small galaxy that is falling into the Milky Way, and its black hole is about as massive as the Milky Way’s. The mass ratio is absolutely huge. The Milky Way is dominant; the Leo I black hole is almost comparable.”

The team’s paper showed that previous measurements of the orbital velocities of stars in Leo I showed a strong bias towards slower stars; that’s why previous calculations may have missed such a huge mass. Since the new study claims not to have such a bias, it was able to find what others missed.

But the result is not entirely unprecedented, either.

In 2014, a dwarf galaxy with a total mass of 140 million solar masses was found to have a supermassive block hole clocking in at 21 million solar masses – around 15 percent of the total galactic mass. Then, in 2017, two more dwarf galaxies were found with black hole chonks, of 4.4 million and 5.8 million solar masses – 13 and 18 percent of the masses of their host galaxies, respectively.

So, while we currently have “no explanation for this kind of black hole in dwarf spheroidal galaxies,” according to UT Austin astronomer María José Bustamante, perhaps it’s actually quite a common occurrence.

And that could help explain how supermassive black holes get so supermassive. When two galaxies merge, eventually their supermassive black holes should, too. Which means dwarf galaxies could be feeding the black holes of huge ones.

“If the mass of Leo I’s black hole is high, that may explain how black holes grow in massive galaxies,” Gebhardt said.

The research has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

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Vatican Knows More About UFOs Than Intelligence Agencies

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Are you still sure that intelligence agencies and scientists know more about extraterrestrial civilizations than anyone else? In fact, science centers, the CIA, and individuals like Elon Musk and Bill Gates know less about UFOs and alien visitations than the Pope. You may be surprised to learn that the Vatican has its own space exploration program.

The Vatican Observatory is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, the Observatory is now headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and operates a telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States.

Indirect confirmation that the Vatican is “in the know” are the statements of Pope Francis and his predecessor about extraterrestrial life.

Cultists have repeatedly pointed out that people will soon get acquainted with extraterrestrial intelligence, learn more about extraterrestrial civilizations. And there is no doubt that the Vatican takes extraterrestrials more than seriously. For example, the possibility of converting them to Catholicism has been announced.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to answer that,” the Pope replied, explaining that while scientific knowledge has so far ruled out the possibility of other thinking beings in the universe, “until America was discovered, we thought it didn’t exist, and instead it did,” Pope Francis said.

“But in any case, I think we should stick to what scientists tell us, still aware that the Creator is infinitely greater than our knowledge.”

Francis said the one thing he is sure of in the universe and the world we live in is that it is “not the result of chance or chaos,” but rather of divine intelligence.

Yes, the Vatican’s research power pales in comparison to NASA’s latest technological advances, but the facts speak for themselves.

Until the 19th century, this religious organization was known for opening astronomical observatories and scientific schools where young and able scientists were trained in the technique of observing space.

The Vatican Observatory, which still exists today, is one of the oldest and most authoritative on a planetary scale.

But that’s not all. It turns out that the Vatican also has a space program that, according to experts, is not much inferior to the program of the same NASA.

The Vatican has quite modern and powerful telescopes and other observation equipment. The largest telescope observes the universe in the infrared range and significantly exceeds the capabilities of analogues.

And another interesting fact to ponder. While the Vatican conducts space research, more and more people on Earth begin to believe in the reality of extraterrestrial life.

According to statistics, in 1990 this number was estimated at 27% of the world’s population. In 2000 it increased to 33%. Now it is approaching the 65% mark. Thus, the Vatican’s awareness of extraterrestrial life can be seen as a “fire of knowledge”.

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said Christians should consider alien life as an “extraterrestrial brother” and part of God’s creation.

Father Funes said it is difficult to rule out the possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe, and he noted that a field of astronomy is now actively searching for “biomarkers” in the spectral analysis of other stars and planets.

These potential forms of life could include those that do not require oxygen or hydrogen, he said. Just as God created multiple forms of life on Earth, he said, there may be multiple forms of life throughout the universe.

“This is not contrary to faith, because we cannot place limits on God’s creative freedom,” he said.

“To use the words of St. Francis, if we consider earthly creatures to be ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters,’ why can’t we also speak of an ‘extraterrestrial brother,'” he said.

According to some scientists, the goals and objectives of church officials have changed somewhat. Now they are clearly focused on preparing humanity for an encounter with extraterrestrials.

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Potential ‘portal’ discovered that could be a wormhole in our galaxy

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Science has long been interested in the so-called wormholes. These are tunnels in space-time, giving, so far only theoretically, the possibility of instantaneous movement between galaxies.

Recently, for the first time, it turned out that in our Galaxy there is an object similar to a wormhole. It is located at a distance of 1566 light years from us, by space standards within easy reach.

Portals between universes or galaxies are theoretically possible, their existence does not contradict the laws of physics. Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen stated this back in the 1930s.

Later, several theories appeared, in their own way explaining the likelihood of such travel using the so-called wormholes.

One such hypothesis compares a wormhole and a black hole. The entrances to them as a region of powerful gravity are very similar. Based on this analogy, scientists hope that tunnels in space-time can be detected, including using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the main purpose of which is to observe black holes.

EHT is a complex of radio telescopes located in different parts of the world. With his help, several discoveries have already been made, last year he found a black hole in the center of our native galaxy

In general, there are supposedly millions of such black holes in the Milky Way, and most importantly, some of them are potentially the mouths of wormholes.

Astrophysicists in the United States and Germany recently discovered the first such object. This is Gaia BH1, an object ten times the size of the Sun, located 1566 light-years from Earth.

Gaia BH1 has a Sun-like star orbiting it. Usually, in such binary systems, the black hole is “fed” by the star, simultaneously emitting powerful X-rays. But this black hole does not attract matter to itself and does not radiate anything. Astronomers conventionally call such mysterious objects “sleeping” black holes. They have never before been found in our galaxy.

This is either a “sleeping” black hole, or a perfectly suitable candidate for the “role” of a wormhole. The discovery was made possible by the highly functional Gaia space telescope and the ground-based Gemini telescopes.

Traditionally, a classical wormhole is represented as a three-dimensional tube in a curved two-dimensional space. This does not contradict general relativity, but most scientists believe that such tunnels are only stable if they are filled with exotic matter of negative energy density, which creates a strong gravitational repulsion and prevents the cavity from collapsing.

However, there are also other opinions. For example, Pascal Koiran, professor of computer science at Ecole Normale Superieure of Lyon, published calculations according to which exotic matter is not needed to pass through the wormhole at the level of elementary particles.

Traveling through a wormhole could look like a surreal and disorienting experience. It may appear as if you are traveling through a tunnel of bright light and time is passing by quickly.

You may feel as if you are being transported from one place to another without actually moving. As you move through the wormhole, you could experience changes in gravity or shifts in the space-time continuum.

The inside of the tunnel may appear to be made out of strange and exotic particles, with colors and shapes that seem out of this world. In some cases, the tunnel may even be filled with a mysterious form of energy that seems to be alive.

Wormholes were and remain today the only chance for interstellar flights. So scientists will continue their research, no matter how fantastic they may seem.

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