Scientists form black hole theory
A team of Leicester scientists has helped develop a theory about how supermassive black holes and galaxies are formed.
Using NASA's Hubble and Swift space telescopes, the team has found a group of very young stars which are about to be swallowed up by an intermediate sized black hole some 290 million light years away.
They believe the stars are the remnant of a small galaxy which is about to be swallowed up by a larger galaxy.
The findings by the research team, led by Dr Sean Farrell, formerly of the University of Leicester, have just been published in the influential Astrophysical Journal.
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Dr Klaas Wiersema, who is from the university's department of physics and astronomy and is working with Dr Farrell, said: "There was always an understanding that this happened but the evidence we have helped to calibrate and analyse by using the Swift space telescope helps prove the theory.
"I and a team of nine others at the University of Leicester showed that the stars in the cluster were very young, around 20 million years old, as they shone blue as opposed to red."
Dr Russell, now of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy in Australia, said: "This has really important implications for how supermassive black holes form, and therefore how galaxies form and evolve."