Scientists using NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer have found a doomed star orbiting what appears to be a medium-sized black hole – a theorized "in-between" category of black hole that has eluded confirmation and frustrated scientists for more than a decade.
With the discovery of the star and its orbital period, scientists are now one step away from measuring the mass of such a black hole, a step which would help verify its existence. The star's period and location already fit into the main theory of how these black holes could form.
A team led by Prof. Philip Kaaret of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, announced these results today in Science Express. The results will also appear in the Jan. 27 issue of Science.