Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

FOUND: Two Black Holes, One Too Skinny, The Other Too Fat

The arrow points to the skinny black hole (Image: Hubble/Chandra/UC Boulder)

As NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory orbits the Earth, astronomers have been using it to look at X-ray sources from black holes in far-away galaxies. And they’ve been seeing black holes that don’t fit the standard profile.

One astronomer recently found an unusually “skinny” black hole, reports the Associated Press. It is located in SDSS J1126+2944, a galaxy with two black holes. Galaxies with more than one black hole are rare enough to begin with: the AP says there are only 12 known. Black holes usually have stars clamoring around them, but in this pair, one black hole is “starved of stars.” And it’s much smaller than its neighbor. It looks like the bigger black hole is stealing the smaller one’s food.

Closer to Earth, another team, according to NASA, has found the opposite—a supermassive black hole that’s so well fed it “burped” after its latest meal. The astronomers observed gas expelled from the black hole located in the small NGC 5195 galaxy, which they think represents two large blasts. 

“Astronomers often refer to black holes as ‘eating’ stars and gas. Apparently, black holes can also burp after their meal,” one astronomer said in a NASA release

Now that’s just rude.

Bonus finds: 100 new planetsa shipwreck dating back to the American Revolution

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.