Image: Wormhole.
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Research at Swinburne University of Technology has shown that it is possible to predict the masses of black holes in galaxies for which it was previously thought not possible. In large galaxies, the central black hole is related to the mass of the spheroid-shaped distribution of stars at the centre of the galaxy, known as the galaxy’s 'bulge'. Some astronomers have claimed that the size of black holes at the centres of galaxies with small bulges was unrelated to the bulge. However, ARC Future Fellow and Swinburne researcher, Professor Alister Graham, previously identified a new relationship involving black holes in galaxies with small bulges. He demonstrated that the black hole in the bulge of the Milky Way was not set by chance but instead followed an astronomical rule.  Now, after studying more than 100 galaxies with black holes four to 40 times less massive than our Milky Way's black hole, they too have been found to follow this same rule. "It turns out that there is yet more order in our Universe than previously appreciated,” Professor Graham said. "This is exciting not just because it provides further insight into the mechanics of black hole formation, but because of the predictions it allows us to make.”

Media issued by Swinburne University of Technology

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Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at