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The discovery of the first roaming black hole

The discovery of the first roaming black hole

black holes hard to find. This is because of their nature, as not even light can escape the immense gravity of a black hole.

When black holes are found, it’s mostly through glowing ones Accumulation discs. This is the material that collects around the black hole due to its gravity. This disc is extremely hot and radiates in the infrared and X-ray ranges.

But what if a black hole had nothing to be attracted to? Then there is no cumulative disk and no way to see it. For this reason it has not yet been possible to detect wandering black holes, that is, those that cannot be assigned to any star system, but rather drift through the void of space.

bending light in front of a star

research team from Berkeley University But it is now believed that he discovered such a black hole in our Milky Way. They have their studies in february It has now been submitted, accepted, and published by The Astrophysical Journal.

The team set out to discover an effect called fine lens Features. The star’s light becomes distorted and brighter when a large mass object passes in front of it. Using this method, they determined that the black hole 1.6 to 4.4 solar masses big.

However, size is still an element of uncertainty. Until now the star was at least supposed to be dead 2.2 solar masses It should become a black hole. According to the researchers, the object was named OGLE-2011-BLG-0462 So it is also a neutron star (a very compact star at the end of evolution with a high density). Whether it is a neutron star or a black hole, it is the first “stellar ghost” to be discovered while roaming through space without a companion star.

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This image from Hubble shows a star shining dramatically through the micro-lens in August 2011.

Too slow for a normal black hole

The object must be 2,280 to 6,260 light-years away from Earth toward the center of the Milky Way. The body is moving at a speed less than 30 kilometers per second. This is relatively small if you are using previous models of black holes. It is assumed that the black hole is caused by a supernova, that is, the explosion of a dead star. That massive explosion was supposed to eject the black hole with even more force—it should have been faster. So the team theorized that black holes could also form from failed supernovae.

The results in the future should help find astral spirits wandering in space more easily. The team estimates that only one percent of all measurable microlensing events come from black holes. If these events last more than 120 days, then 40 percent of them are black holes. In the case of OGLE-2011-BLG-0462, the light distortion was approx 300 days Measurable, refers to a compact object of high mass.

The second team gets different results

In addition to the research team from Berkeley, a team from Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) In Baltimore the exact same lens happened. This team is convinced that the object is a black hole and not a neutron star.

According to STScI it is 7.1 solar masses big and 5,153 light years off the ground. moves with you 45 km/sec across space – which would be extraordinarily fast given current models. Here, STScI hypothesizes that the supernova that created the black hole gave it an extra boost.

The Berkeley team suspects that the teams’ different results may be attributable to different approaches to astrological analysis. They want to wait for more data from Hubble to make sure it’s a black hole and not a neutron star. This data should be available by the end of the year.