Astronomers have found a smaller, stellar-mass black hole lurking in a nearby satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. The black hole has been hiding in a star cluster named NGC 1850, which is one of the brightest star clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The black hole is 160,000 light-years away from Earth, and is estimated to be about 11 times the mass of our Sun.
Using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, astronomers found the black hole when they noticed a star with a peculiar motion among the star cluster, where other stars weren’t behaving the same way. Further investigation revealed the gravitational influence came from a stellar mass black hole.
This is the first time astronomers have used this detection method to reveal the presence of a black hole outside of our galaxy. Astronomers say this method could be helpful in locating other hidden black holes in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and it can also help shed light on how these mysterious objects form and evolve.
Usually, black holes can be detected by the X-ray glow they emitted as they swallow matter, or from the gravitational waves generated as black holes collide with one another or with neutron stars.
But most smaller stellar-mass black holes don’t give away their presence through X-rays or gravitational waves.
“The vast majority can only be unveiled dynamically,” says Stefan Dreizler, one of the team members who contributed to the new paper, published in the Monthly Noticed of the Royal Astronomical Society. “When they form a system with a star, they will affect its motion in a subtle but detectable way, so we can find them with sophisticated instruments.”
The team said they have been acting as detectives, trying to track down a criminal gang from their missteps.
“We are looking at every single star in this cluster with a magnifying glass in one hand trying to find some evidence for the presence of black holes but without seeing them directly,” said Sara Saracino from the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, who led the research. “The result shown here represents just one of the wanted criminals, but when you have found one, you are well on your way to discovering many others, in different clusters.”
NGC 1850 is an unusual double star cluster that lies in the bar of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbor galaxy of our own Milky Way. NGC 1850 is the second brightest star cluster in the LMC, and contains thousands of stars.
A specialized instrument on the VLT, the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) allowed the researchers to observe the very crowded star cluster and analyze the light of every single star in the vicinity.
“The net result is information about thousands of stars in one shot, at least 10 times more than with any other instrument,” said co-author Sebastian Kamann, also from Liverpool’s Astrophysics Research Institute.
ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope in Chile, set to start operating later this decade, will allow astronomers to find even more hidden black holes.
“The ELT will definitely revolutionise this field,” says Saracino. “It will allow us to observe stars considerably fainter in the same field of view, as well as to look for black holes in globular clusters located at much greater distances.”
The post A Black Hole has been Found Lurking Just Outside the Milky Way appeared first on Universe Today.
Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomics.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST
Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation
Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
pathogens and gives you more
energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser! Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover - Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video)