first_imgStay on target Scientists Discover Possible Interstellar VisitorWater Vapor Detected on Potentially ‘Habitable’ Planet Another day, another cosmic discovery: The Rochester Institute of Technology found evidence of massive black holes hiding at the edge of spiral galaxies.These overlooked regions, according to RIT, provide insight into the gravitational waves created when these massive bodies collide.Using data from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search (a survey of nearby galaxies), the team discovered a comparable number of black holes in the outskirts of spiral galaxies as in dwarf/satellite galaxies.As explained by study author Sukanya Chakrabarti, low levels of heavy elements in dwarf galaxies create “favorable conditions” for the creation of massive black holes.A similar galactic environment in the outer disks of spiral galaxies also provides “likely hunting grounds” for MBHs.“If these core-collapse supernovae are the predecessors to the binary black holes detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), then what we’ve found is a reliable method of identifying the host galaxies of LIGO sources,” Chakrabarti, an assistant professor in the RIT School of Physics and Astronomy, said in a statement.“Because these black holes have an electromagnetic counterpart at an earlier stage in their life,” she continued, “we can pinpoint their location in the sky and watch for massive black holes.”What a show that must be.“This work may help us determine which galaxies to be on the lookout for electromagnetic counterparts of massive black holes,” co-author Brennan Dell, a recent RIT graduate who analyzed the data with Chakrabarti, said.The recent findings complement Chakrabarti’s earlier work, which showed that outer parts of spiral galaxies are a conducive home for MBHs, and can contribute to LIGO detection rates.Her latest study isolates potential candidates within these favorable galactic environments.“We see now that these are both important contributors,” Chakrabarti said. “The next step is to do to deeper surveys to see if we can improve the rate.”The full study, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, will appear in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.last_img

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