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Astronomers spotted a huge black hole in the center of a very small galaxy, which could help scientists better understand how these kinds of galaxies — called "ultracompact dwarfs" — form.
The galaxy, called Fornax UCD3, is about 60 million light-years from Earth. (A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, which is roughly 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers.) The galaxy, astronomers discovered, likely hosts a supermassive black hole that is about 3.5 million times the mass of Earth's sun. The black hole happens to be about the same mass as the Milky Way's central black hole, but Fornax UCD3 is much smaller than our home galaxy, according to a statement from Lomonosov Moscow State University.
Fornax - UCD3 - Hole - Host - Galaxy
This means Fornax UCD3's black hole is a heavyweight inside its host galaxy. Astronomers said the black hole is roughly 4 percent of the total galaxy mass, while "normal" galaxies have a much lower ratio of just 0.3 percent.
It's not the first time such a huge black hole was found inside an ultracompact dwarf galaxy; Fornax's black hole is the fourth one discovered, astronomers said. They suggested tiny galaxies can host huge black holes because long ago, a more massive galaxy passing close by robbed the dwarf galaxy of most of its stars. After this galactic encounter, what remains today in the dwarf galaxy is a compact nucleus with only a few stars.
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