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A ghostly black hole may have been discovered by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley

a University of California at Berkeley The research team, led by graduate student Casey Lamm and associate professor of astronomy Jessica Lowe, may have discovered the first “ocean-floating” black hole. science daily Call.

According to the director, they estimated that this invisible object, OB110462, is between 1.6 and 4.4 times the mass of the Sun and 2,280 to 6260 light-years away. Currently, researchers say it could also be a neutron star or a “city-sized” star. Born when giant stars collapse and die. Whether it’s a black hole or a neutron star, Science Daily reports that the mysterious object is the first “stellar ghost” ever discovered floating in space without a companion star.

“This is the first floating black hole or neutron star to be detected using a gravitational microlensing,” Lu told the outlet. Lu has been searching for free-floating black holes since 2008 and has been observing OB110462 since 2020. “Using a fine lens, we can study and weigh these tiny, compact objects. I think we’ve opened a new window on these mysterious objects that you can’t see otherwise.” Although black holes are usually invisible, by using the effect of a microgravity lens, researchers can see how they use their strong gravitational field to distort and distort the light of distant stars.

the interview Department of Astronomy at the University of California, BerkeleyBlack holes are “one of the most unusual phenomena in astrophysics”. Their website says there are an estimated 100 million stellar black holes in the Milky Way, and Science Daily reports that the UC Berkeley team now estimates there are 200 million black holes. The outlet says that determining the sum will help astronomers better understand how stars die — and perhaps shed more light on how our galaxy evolved.

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According to Lu’s team, it is not currently possible to determine whether OB110462 is a black hole or a neutron star, but they hope to collect more data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and conduct more detailed analyzes at a later time.

“As much as we’d like to say it’s definitely a black hole, we should report all possible solutions,” Lu told Science Daily. This includes low-mass black holes and possibly even neutron stars.