Elusive medium-size black holes may form in dense ‘birthing nests’

Researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery that elusive intermediate-mass black holes could potentially form in dense star clusters known as “globular clusters.” These clusters contain tens of thousands to millions of tightly packed stars and could be the birthplace of these mysterious cosmic entities.

An intermediate-mass black hole falls between the mass range of 100 and 10,000 suns. They are heavier than solar-mass black holes but lighter than supermassive black holes. These in-between black holes have been a challenge for astronomers to detect, with the first example found in 2012, named GCIRS 13E, located 26,000 light-years away in the Milky Way.

The formation of intermediate-mass black holes has puzzled scientists, as the traditional methods of black hole formation do not easily explain their existence. However, a recent study using a supercomputer simulation has shed light on a possible mechanism for their creation.

The simulation showed that a dense molecular cloud, acting as a “birthing nest” for globular clusters, could lead to the formation of massive stars that eventually collapse and give rise to an intermediate-mass black hole. This finding challenges previous theories and provides a new perspective on the origin of these enigmatic cosmic objects.

The research, led by Michiko Fujii from the University of Tokyo, marks a significant milestone in understanding the formation of intermediate-mass black holes. By simulating the dynamics of star clusters and individual stars, the team was able to demonstrate how these black holes could emerge in the chaotic environment of globular clusters.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to expand their simulations to study larger galaxies and early universe star clusters to further investigate the origins of intermediate-mass black holes. Their findings were published in the journal Science, showcasing the importance of computational modeling in unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos.

This groundbreaking research opens up new possibilities for understanding the complex processes that shape our universe and highlights the crucial role of globular clusters in the evolution of black holes. As astronomers continue to explore the depths of space, the discovery of intermediate-mass black holes in dense ‘birthing nests’ offers a tantalizing glimpse into the hidden mechanisms of the cosmos.