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Big or Small, Take Your Pick of Black Holes

Medium-sized black holes either don't exist or are very rare, say astronomers of the new study. The smallest known black holes formed from exploding supernovas, and are about 10 times larger than the Sun.

Black holes in contrast, are billions of times larger than the Sun, and reside deep in the core of most galaxies. Middle of the road black holes are generally thousands of times larger than the Sun.

The results are based on a comprehensive analysis of globular cluster RZ2109, using the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton Telescope and the WM Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Black holes are extremely dense regions of space that act kind of like cosmic vacuums, using their massive gravity to suck in nearby surroundings, gulping them into dark orifices.

Researchers first picked up the revealing X-ray signals of an active black hole, then went a step further to determine its size. A chemical spectrum of the cluster placed the black hole at just 10 times the mass of the Sun, making it very tiny. According to theory, a cluster with a small black hole cannot also house a medium one, leading the researchers to conclude that medium-sized black holes are either non-existent or extremely uncommon.

The findings refute the argument of some theorists that clusters should contain varying medium- sized black holes, between 1,000 to 10,000 times larger than the Sun. But "never say never", especially in science. The authors counsel that elusive middleweight holes might be located on the outlying regions of our universe, making them both faint and difficult to find.

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