Astronomers interested in black holes generally study small, low-mass types within our own galaxy, or super-massive black holes found in the center of other large galaxies. But during the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium Nov. 7-8 at Wesleyan. astronomy major Hannah Sugarman ’09 explained the importance of finding intermediate mass black holes in the local universe.
“Small black holes are about 30 times the mass of the sun, and the big, super-massive black holes have a mass of about a million times the mass of the sun. Intermediate mass black holes are in between these mass limits,” Sugarman says. “They are important because if super-massive black holes are made by slightly smaller ones combining, we want to be able to observe the smaller ones to see how this works.”