The black hole isn’t emitting light now, which is why the researchers can’t yet determine the exact properties of the black hole. A more accurate approach would be to use the high-powered telescopes at the South Pole to figure out what the black hole is emitting.
This new finding might help scientists to better understand how gravity affects the existence of small distant black holes. Scientists will be able to see how a black hole may be born, or grow, and what might happen when it reaches the end of its life. For example, some theory in the literature suggests that as a black hole nears the end of its life it might collapse in on itself to form a supermassive black hole. In such cases, the black hole may become very massive and, in the process, consume its host star, stripping off the star’s outer layers. This may be the last big black hole for our galaxy, and it could also explain what drives other galaxies to contract and coalesce to form the galaxies in which we live.
“This work is a useful contribution to our understanding of black holes,” said James R. O’Brien, a professor of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a member of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s (NRAO) Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The NRAO is already capable of acquiring images of distant objects in the early universe, but this capability is restricted by having to deal with the time and distance between Earth and the radio telescope. By extending the ACS to the outer reaches of the cosmic microwave background, the NRAO has the potential to image black holes in even more distant objects.”
For more information about NERVA, please go to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory website.