Thousands of black holes form disks in the centers of galaxies

The region around a galaxy's supermassive black hole may harbor thousands of stellar-sized black holes

Image Credits: Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes / Wikimedia Commons.

At the center of most galaxies lie supermassive black holes. Their exceptional gravity pulls in thousands of stars and stellar mass black holes, or black holes formed when a massive star collapses due to gravity.

By simulating how objects interact near the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, astrophysicists from Eötvös University in Hungary have shown, in a new study, that these black holes form a thick disk around a galaxy’s supermassive black hole.

“Previously it was thought that the orbits of both light and massive stellar objects are distributed [uniformly] around the supermassive black hole,” Ákos Szölgyén, a researcher at Eötvös University who led the study, said in a statement, “we now understand that massive stars and black holes typically segregate into a disk.”

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