Research group led by Chris Richardson publishes article about finding black holes with newly launched telescope

Associate Professor of Astrophysics Chris Richardson and student researchers publish article about finding elusive black holes with the newly launch James Webb Space Telescope.

Chris Richardson’s research group, in combination with the collaborators at UNC-Chapel Hill and the American Museum of Natural History, recently published a peer-reviewed manuscript in The Astrophysical Journal, the highest-ranking astronomy specific journal according to Google Metrics.

The paper, which features several Elon undergraduates, pertains to finding an elusive variety of black holes called intermediate black holes (IMBHs). The elusiveness of IMBHs has prompted new methods for their detection, many of which propose using the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), largely recognized as the most revolutionary telescope since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched.

The paper proposes that some IMBHs thought to be hidden in local galaxies might be detectable with current telescopes. The paper also proposes that JWST is ideal for finding a vast number of hidden IMBHs in local dwarf galaxies and provides a method for doing so when observations start being taken this summer.