KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian astrophysics PhD student, Nur Adlyka Ainul Annuar was among a group of astronomers who have discovered evidence of black holes in our cosmic backyard, presented earlier today during a press conference at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
Adlyka, who is currently pursuing her Phd at the Centre of Extragalactic Astronomy, Durham University, United Kingdom, was among British researchers who conducted analysis of the American space agency NASA’s most recent X-ray telescope called NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array).
Presenting on the topic "Black Holes, Green Galaxies, Old Stars & NuSTARs", her study discovered that the galaxy has a thick column of gas hiding the central black hole.
Adlyka said: “These black holes are relatively close to the Milky Way, but they have remained hidden from us until now.
“They’re like monsters hiding under your bed. Their recent discoveries certainly call out the question of how many other supermassive black holes we are still missing, even in our nearby universe.”
Adlyka whose research is focused on trying to find active supermassive black holes that are enshrouded by thick clouds of gas and dust in our universe said: "NuSTAR can detect high energy X-ray emission from the black hole that is able to penetrate through the thick layers of gas and dust."
"Finding these hidden beasts is quite important to improve our understanding on the growth of supermassive black holes, and how they co-evolved with their host galaxies."
Supermassive black holes are defined as those that are at least a million times massive than the sun.
Adlyka, who hails from Muar Johor, also holds a BSc in Physics and Astrophysics from University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. The Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) scholar is expected to complete her PHD in Astrophysics by the end of July 2017.