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Astronomers spot a mid-sized black hole

Black holes typically come in one of two sizes: stellar mass and supermassive.Astronomers believe that there are black holes that fit between these two extremes but finding them has proven difficult, with only a half-dozen candidates currently known. Well, as of today, the tally rises to half-dozen plus one. Scientists at the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre have found another mid-sized black hole, weighing in at 5,000 times the mass of our Sun.

The good news is that this find supports the idea that black holes exist in a wide range of varying sizes. The discovery has been called "NGC1313X-1" and is classified as an ultraluminous X-ray source. Astronomers believe that these types of black holes are only in an intermediate stage of their existence which means that they're still drawing in matter and giving off huge amounts of X-ray radiation in the process. NASA plans to launch an X-ray telescope in 2016 to further explore other potential intermediate black holes.

[Image credit: ESO]

NASA